Top 10 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Safety Violations

A takeaway of the 2017 NSC Congress & Expo was OSHA’s release of its 10 most cited safety violations. There were 28,774 violations for the year. The list highlights the most common safety and security pain points found at construction sites, utility plants, and other potentially hazardous occupational environments.

While many of the violations are well known safety challenges, it is certainly worth noting their prevalence in certain industries.

“It is unfortunate that these violations are so widespread. They’re all very preventable,” says Ben Jakubovic, CPP, PSP, CYBRA’s Safety and Security Solutions Architect for the company’s Edgefinity IoT Safety & Security platform.

Edgefinity IoT addresses the complex safety and security needs of facilities ranging from typical office buildings to Critical Infrastructure. It is a fully scalable software/hardware solution. Combining active RFID hardware and software with RTLS (real time location system) and multi-sensor capabilities, Edgefinity IoT gives stakeholders the assurance of health, safety and secure monitoring of staff even in lone worker situations.

“It’s easy for people to get complacent about OSHA rules and protocols. That’s why CYBRA safety and security product, Edgefinity IoT, tracks the events that can slip through the cracks, and leads to violations,” concludes Jakubovic.

Here are the top 10 most frequently cited safety violations as determined by OSHA:

1. Fall Protection; General Requirements

Dangerous falls are the most common type of fatal injuries, and 2017 was no exception. Falls accounted for 814 injuries including 133 fatalities in 2017, according to OSHA’s injury database. Falls were responsible for 6,072 OSHA safety violations – over 20% of the total 28,774 recorded violations in 2017.

Falls are the leading cause of death among workers, and are often caused by misuse of equipment such as using the wrong ladder, or insufficient safety precautions such as not using a harness. Over a third of fatal falls occur at a height of just 15 feet or less.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Edgefinity IoT detects hazardous falls automatically and instantly alerts safety personnel. Edgefinity IoT can help prevent fatal falls by sensing when a person ascends a ladder or other piece of equipment without the required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). If a fall does occur special sensors detect the event and reports the incident to Edgefinity IoT, which can generate an instant alert to call for help.

2. Hazard Communication

With 4,176 safety violations, hazard communication is a very common problem. Hazard communication issues can account for injuries, burns or explosions.

The challenge in hazard communication for employers is to ensure labels and safety data sheets are clearly in view workers exposed to hazardous chemicals and environments. In addition, workers need to be properly trained to handle the chemical properly.

OSHA Standards: All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

A staff member entering an unsafe area without proper training and/or PPE will receive an alert – optionally his supervisor as well. Edgefinity IoT’s companion product, MarkMagic label form and RFID tags design and printing solution, can be utilized to design, store, and print all types of labels and data sheets for OSHA compliance.

3. Scaffolding

According to OSHA, an estimated 2.3 million workers, or 65% of workers in the construction industry work on scaffolds. Proper use of safety equipment is vital when using and setting up scaffolds. In 2017, there were 3,288 safety violations involving scaffolds.

4,500 injuries and over 60 deaths occur each year on scaffolds according to Bureau Labor Statistics (BLS). Yet, according to OSHA, approximately only 33% of scaffolds are installed with guardrails, and approximately 25% of workers had no training in proper scaffold installation and inspection.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Similarly to how the system handles fall protection, Edgefinity IoT can help prevent scaffold incidents by sensing when a person ascends a ladder or other piece of equipment without the required PPE. In the event that a fall is detected by special sensors, Edgefinity IoT can trigger an alert to first responders.

4. Respiratory Protection

An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces in the US.

Compliance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually. Respirators protect workers against environments that lack sufficient oxygen, harmful dusts, smokes, gases, and sprays. There were 3,097 respiration protection safety violations in 2017.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Edgefinity IoT can require environment-specific PPE depending on the location entered or the identity of the hazardous airborne substance actually present when using additional sensors. In addition, if a work environment suddenly becomes hazardous, special sensors that can detect harmful gases, and other toxins cal issue user defined alerts, sound alarms, etc.

5. Lockout/Tagout

There were 2,877 safety violations cited that violated OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout standard. Compliance with lockout & tagout standards prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year.

Craft workers, electricians, machine operators, and laborers are among the 3 million workers who service equipment routinely and face the risk of injury or death. If hazardous energy such as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, or thermal is not properly controlled, these workers are exposed to extremely dangerous circumstances. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Edgefinity IoT can alert when a lock/tag is removed by an unauthorized person.

6. Ladders

In 2017, there were a total of 196 occupational injuries from ladders. 25 of these injuries resulted in death. In all, there were 2,241 safety violations concerning ladders.

The reason ladder accidents are the most common is not due to the height of the fall, but actually from workers falling onto dangerous machinery. The use of safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails, can greatly curb the hazard of working on ladders.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

OSHA requires that a second person be positioned at the ladder’s bottom. Edgefinity IoT can make sure that this rule is followed.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks

There were a total of 2,162 OSHA violations related to powered industrial trucks such as forklifts. There are close to 1 million forklifts in the US. Every year approximately 11% of these are involved in an accident.

Each year in the US, nearly 100,000 workers are seriously injured in forklift related incidents, including 85 fatalities.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Edgefinity IoT mobile unit can prevent a truck from starting if a driver lacks proper training certification.

8. Machine Guarding

50% of all amputations occur in the manufacturing sector. Improper use of stationary and portable machinery is the primary cause of the amputations.

1,933 total safety violations in 2017 were a result of insufficient machine guarding. The purpose of machine guarding is to protect the machine operator and other employees in the work area from hazards created by rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.

Some examples of these danger zones are barrier guards, light curtains, two-hand operating devices etc. According to OSHA, 49% of the injuries from mechanical power presses resulted in amputation. There were 119 accidents in 2017 from table saws, as well.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Edgefinity IoT geofence capability issues alerts when an untrained person approaches dangerous machines.

9. Fall Protection; Training Requirements

1,523 fall protection training requirement violations were cited in 2017. Falls in general were the most common workplace violation in 2017. Whether it is a fall from a ladder, or a fall onto something dangerous, falls are very common injuries. The US Department of Labor lists falls as a leading cause of traumatic death, accounting for 8% of all work fatalities from trauma. Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Edgefinity IoT offers several alert capabilities when a fall is detected. The system can sounds alerts, and routes logged event to supervisor if untrained person stars to ascend.

10. Electronic Wiring Methods

Faulty electrical wiring methods accounted for 1,405 violations – down from 1,937 in 2016. Frequent violations include improper use of extension cords.

Electrocutions account for nearly 10% of the fatal four most common workplace fatalities. Common citations include setting up electrical equipment in wet, damp, or hazardous environments, usage of damaged electrical equipment, and unauthorized or untrained employees using potentially dangerous equipment.

How Edgefinity IoT Can Help

Edgefinity IoT can sound an alert. It can also route a logged event to a supervisor. If no properly trained person is present when a panel is opened.

You Can Prevent Safety Incidents From Turning into Disaster

By deploying CYBRA’s Edgefinity IoT, you can monitor and anticipate any of the situations in OSHA’s top violations list, giving you greater visibility and improved alert responses to emergencies.