Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers know that employers are in the best position to prevent on-the-job accidents and injuries by making sure that workers are properly trained and by ensuring that there is a safe work environment in which people can perform their job duties.Unfortunately, not all employers take their responsibilities seriously and there are many workplaces throughout Georgia and the United States where there are safety violations. When OSHA conducts an inspection of a dangerous workplace either as part of a routine inspection or because OSHA has been alerted to problems, OSHA can issue citations to employers for lapses in fulfilling safety obligations. Each year, OSHA releases information on the top 10 violations that lead to citations, and this year’s 2013 list has been released.
The Top 10 OSHA Safety Violations
The list of the top 10 safety violations leading to citations was released at the National Safety Council’s 2013 Congress and Expo. Ironically, the list had to be revealed by an editor from Safety and Health, rather than by a spokesperson from OSHA, because the OSHA employee was not able to attend the expo as a result of the 2013 government shutdown. This shutdown, which resulted in the furlough of approximately 800,000 federal employees, reduced the ability of OSHA to do its job conducting inspections to identify violations and issue citations.
The citations from OSHA are given out if an employer has violated the Administration’s rules and guidelines. A citation means an employer has put employees at risk by failing to maintain optimum safety on the job. Some of the top lapses that made the 2013 list of the top 10 violations leading to citations include:
- Violations of fall protection standards. There were 8,241 citations issued for this problem.
- Violations of standards related to hazard communication. A total of 6,156 citations were issued for violations.
- Violations of scaffolding standards. A total of 5,423 violations were identified.
- Violations of respiratory protection rules. There were 3,879 violations.
- Violations of regulations related to electrical or wiring methods. A total of 3,452 violations occurred on electrical and wiring issues.
- Problems with powered industrial trucks. Violations totaled 3,340.
- Ladder safety issues. OSHA reports 3,311 violations.
- Lookout/tagout problems. There were 3,254.
- A failure to comply with general electrical requirements. OSHA cited 2,745 violations.
- Machine guarding problems. There were a total of 2,701 issues with machine guarding.
These violations clearly have an impact on the safety of workers on the job. For example, in 2011, falls caused 259 of the 738 on-the-job fatalities that occurred over the course of the year. Violations of fall protection standards made the list of top reasons for citations in 2011 just as they did the 2013 list. If employers were more serious about complying with safety rules related to falls, perhaps fewer workers would die on the job.
Falls aren’t the only leading cause of on the-job deaths that are related to frequent safety issues. Electrocutions are also considered one of the “fatal four” workplace injuries, while a failure to comply with electrical and wiring methods or general electrical requirements are two of the top reasons OSHA cites employers. Employees need to take serious steps to avoid these lapses in workplace safety in the future so employees can be safer at work and so fewer workplace deaths and serious injuries happen.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation call 1-404-303-7770 today.