Each October, OSHA releases a list of the most cited violations from their approximately 32,000 workplace inspections the year before. The list seldomly changes; year after year the same violations swap positions on the top 10 list and the number of violations often increase. As you start 2017, let this knowledge of the common violations in your industry help you start the year with a renewed focus on areas that need a stalwart safety strategy.
10. Electrical, General Requirements
Total citations in 2016: 1,704 (decrease of 269 from 2015)
Standard Number: 1910.303
The last violation category to make the list, Electrical General Requirements are in place to protect workers from electrical hazards that can cause death or serious injury. These are the most basic electrical safety requirements that provide overarching protection standards for insulation, heating effects, arcing effects, and classification (OSHA 2008). Common offenses resulting in a violation include poor installation, misuse of electrical equipment, and obstruction of working areas around equipment.
All new installations should be performed by a licensed electrician who is familiar with OSHA standards. Perform regular inspections to make certain the areas surrounding equipment have sufficient space in concordance with the regulation. Manufacturer name, voltage, current, wattage or other ratings should be indicated on equipment. Unless specified and tailor made for a certain environment, equipment should not be placed in an area where it could deteriorate from:
- Excessive temperatures
Read more about electrical general requirements in this OSHA eBook.
9. Electrical Wiring
Total citations in 2016: 1,940 (decrease of 464 from 2015)
Standard Number: 1910.305
In the same vein as General Requirements, Electrical Wiring standards are in place to protect employees from hazards that working with electricity presents. Requirements include effective bonding to ensure electrical continuity, capacity to safely conduct any fault current, isolation from raceways, and no wiring systems in ducts (OSHA 2007). Common violations include unsafe substitutes for permanent wiring and use of unqualified extension cords in wet environments (or other extension cord misuse).
As noted in the General Requirements section, electrical wiring should be installed by a licensed professional with expert knowledge of OSHA guidelines. Know when it is appropriate to use temporary wiring vs. permanent wiring. Temporary power and lighting wiring of 600 volts or less should only be used for:
- Remodeling, maintenance or repairs of buildings or equipment
- Decorative lighting for Christmas, carnivals, or similar use and should not exceed 90 days
- Experimental or development work
- Immediately removed upon completion of purpose (OSHA 2007)
Any temporary wiring over 600 volts "may be used only during periods of tests, experiments, emergencies, or construction-like activities."
8. Machine Guarding
Total citations in 2016: 2,451 (increase of 156 from 2015)
Standard Number: 1910.212
Machine guarding regulations are in place to protect workers from the hazards that are presented by a machine's operation. Violations typically result from improper guarding and a machine not fully secured/anchored as it should be. OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Amputations is in place to target workplaces that house equipment that is capable of causing amputations. Operators of and those who maintain heavy machinery suffer from about 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions and over 800 deaths every year (Machine Guarding eTool). Failure to properly guard equipment and control energy hazards is cited as the primary cause of amputation.
As with all of these violations, the best place to start is to know your equipment, the hazards they present, and the OSHA standards for each. The OSHA Machine Guarding eTool is a good place to start and includes information on machine guarding, point of operation guarding, exposure of blades, anchoring machinery, and more. Examples of machine guarding are barrier guards, light curtains, and two-handed operating devices.
Total citations in 2016: 2,639 (increase of 150 from 2015)
Standard Number: 1926.1053
Primarily used in the construction sector, ladders are extremely useful but quickly become dangerous when not used safely. Common violations involve improper use of portable ladders and not using them based on their design specs. Injuries are more frequent when the top rung is used as a step and employees have a lack of training.
Ladders should support up to four times the maximum intended load (or 3.3 times the load if made of extra heavy duty metal or plastic)(OSHA 2014). If a ladder is old and in disrepair, take it out of use. Follow the OSHA guidelines on ladder angle, rung positioning, and anti-slip requirements.
6. Powered Industrial Trucks
Total citations in 2016: 2,860 (increase of 100 from 2015)
Standard Number: 1910.178
Powered industrial trucks, known more commonly as a forklift or lift truck, can be found in warehouses, factories, welding shops and anywhere else that requires lift of large objects or pallets of smaller objects. There are different types of hazards that depend on the type of truck and the environment it operates in. Common violations include lack of training/certification by the operator, lack of knowledge of facility hazards, and unsafe use while operating.
Operators should have proper training that includes:
- Formal instruction and evaluation of performance using truck
- Operation instructions, warnings, and precautions
- Engine or motor operation
- Steer and maneuvering
- Vehicle capacity and stability
- Knowledge of workplace including pedestrian traffic, load manipulation, narrow aisles, composition of loads, surface conditions, and layout of operational area (OSHA 2006)
Learn more about the requirements specific to your equipment and environment on the OSHA Powered Industrial Truck eTool.
The start of this new year is a good time to review your safety programs to make sure they are in compliance, re-up trainings that are nearing expiration, and perform a job hazard analysis on certain positions. A complete safety mindset that you instill upon your colleagues is a vital part of reducing violations and increasing worker safety. Next week we will release Part 2 of OSHA's Most Cited Violations of 2016, which will cover numbers 1 through 5 on the list. Click the button below subscribe to our blog and receive a notification when it is released.
OSHA. Machine Guarding eTool. Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/machineguarding/
OSHA. Machinery and Machine Guarding, 1910.212. Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=9836
OSHA (2006) Powered industrial trucks, 1910.178. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9828
OSHA (2007) Electrical: Wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use, 1910.305. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9882
OSHA (2008) Electrical: General, 1910.303 https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9880
OSHA (2014) Construction: Stairways and Ladders, 1926.1053. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10839
OSHA (2015) Fall Protection in Construction. Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3146.pdf