Every year OSHA releases a list of the top workplace citations issued over the past twelve months, so as to bring awareness to them and openly discuss what needs changing as well as what they can stand to correct, if need be. Quite often, most of the citations are repeat issues from year to year, which shows an ongoing hazard or problem that needs to be addressed.
This list isn’t just a tally of figures, it is sort of like a blueprint the industry uses to craft better protections and bring awareness to important hazards that arise in workplace situations. Though fluid, many aspects of the list rarely change. This is due to the fact that workplace conditions remain constant despite new laws that go into affect and better regulations that aim to curb safety hazards. The list proves, if nothing else, that the science of workplace safety and its administration is an ever-evolving, complex subject.
OSHA’s Top Ten 2017 Citations
- Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 6,072 violations
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 4,176
- Scaffolding (1926.451): 3,288
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 3,097
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,877
- Ladders (1926.1053): 2,241
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 2,162
- Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,933
- Fall Protection – Training Requirements: 1,523
- Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305): 1,405
Taking a look at OSHA’s 2016 citation list, we see that the top five citations remain unchanged over the course of the year. Fall Protection remains the number one issue, despite its numbers being down from last year. You can see that scaffolding and ladders are obviously both high on the list. Clearly, these are ongoing issues that OSHA will be looking at, and that team leaders and managers should take serious note of if they are invested in the health and safety of their employees. Take every precaution recommended when dealing with these issues. Ladders actually rose a spot this year, which means that regulations are being ignored.
Workplace Tips For Staying in Compliance
It is important to regularly review your protocols if you are working with any situation in which these dangers are present. Integrate information sessions with the workflow of your business. Don’t let education on the issues result in a citation. Measures should be taken to ensure everything is in compliance, so workplace tours are a necessity. Situations and techniques should be monitored and refined over a course of several weeks to ensure regulations are being met. Regardless of whether or not you think everything is okay and that such an analysis won’t be necessary, you won’t know until the data is collected and you find out for yourself. Conduct regular workplace walkarounds to ensure the safety of your workers, it’s just that simple.
If you don’t have the required staff on hand to do full scale tours and data-collection, you should encourage all employees to regularly review the OSHA regulations and standards, so that over the course of a calendar year, all relevant subjects to their workplace have been covered. Every so many weeks, a team meeting would be the perfect opportunity to keep workplace safety in the heads of everyone present, as well as ensure that it becomes a part of the environment on your work site.
As a side note, somewhere on the premises of your work site, applicable OSHA regulations should be posted openly for easy viewing. Ensure that all rules listed are enforced and common knowledge. Nothing should be a surprise, no regulation should be shocking to any employee. Create an environment where workplace safety is the rule, not the exception. Follow protocol every time, lead by example, and if anything does happen, collect as much data on the incident as possible and use it as an example of what not to do so as to better enforce the rules down the line.
If you follow these simple techniques, workplace safety will be dramatically increased, and you will be able to avoid landing on OSHA’s list!
Interested in staying up to date with OSHA’s new rules and regulations? Looking for training for your team to stay in compliance? Please refer to our training calendar.