Officials recently released a list of the top 10 most cited OSHA violations for 2018. The report documents the leading citations throughout their fiscal year, October through September. The goal of releasing the top violations is to help businesses identify and prevent the most common safety risks in the workplace.
The Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2018
- Fall protection (7,270 citations)
- Hazard communication (4,552 citations)
- Scaffolding (3,336 citations)
- Respiratory protection (3,118 citations)
- Lockout (2,994 citations)
- Ladders (2,812 citations)
- Powered industrial trucks (2,294 citations)
- Fall protection training requirements (1,982 citations)
- Machine guarding (1,972 citations)
- 10.Eye and face protection (1,536 citations)
How to Prevent OSHA Violations in 2019
Even one OSHA violation can wreak havoc on your business financially as citation fines have been on the rise in recent years. In fact, on Jan. 23, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule that increases the maximum penalty amounts the agency may assess against employers that violate workplace health and safety requirements. For most violations, the new maximum penalty amount is $13,260. For willful or repeated violations, the new maximum penalty amount is $132,598.
By taking a few simple steps and following some basic guidelines, businesses can significantly decrease their risk of violations.
Here are 6 tips to consider in 2019:
Implement Prevention Plans
Having a prevention plan in the workplace is key to minimizing violations. Take into consideration any and all instances in which an employee could suffer an injury. From broken machinery to loose floorboards or scaffolding, it’s important to identify and eliminate potential hazards. Keep in mind that any finances spent to make repairs likely pale in comparison to the costs incurred after having an injury on premises.
If employees have a full understanding of the tools, machinery, and substances they may be working with, the chances of injury will decrease, sometimes significantly. In states where a safety and wellness program became mandatory, or the state provided incentives or requirements through its workers' compensation programs, the rates of workplace injury and illness incidences were lowered by 9% to more than 60%. Every business should implement a hazard training program so employees are fully prepared for anything that may arise and capable of tackling the problem safely and efficiently.
Encourage your employees to openly and quickly communicate safety hazards and concerns to management, or the appropriate parties in your organization. In particularly dangerous work environments, such as construction sites, warehouses, or manufacturing facilities, rapidly advancing technology is helping to streamline hazard reporting, and providing real-time warnings to employees. By combining safety apps and software programs with wearable technology, such as smart watches, many companies can now have employees notify their entire company about a potential hazard, and employees can be alerted in real-time if they are approaching a dangerous area.
Provide Safety Equipment
Hard hats, goggles, masks and other safety equipment can be the difference between a minor injury and a major one. All employees should have appropriate attire and gear to protect themselves from illness, exposure and injury in their workplace.
Provide Respiratory Protection
OSHA requires respirators when employees must work in environments with insufficient oxygen or where harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, fumes, gases, vapors, or sprays are present. These health hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases, or death. Compliance with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard could avert hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses annually..
Before waiting for an injury or violation to occur, conduct reviews and audits regularly. Many violations could be avoided if routine inspections are done. Blocked exits, poor cleaning, or misplaced safety equipment may seem minor, but can all lead to bigger problems in the future. Being proactive and generating accurate logs for OSHA inspectors and will help reduce the chance of receiving a citation.
While accidents do happen, it is essential to take every precaution for the safety of your employees. By providing your employees with training and a safe workplace, you may lower your Workers Compensation Insurance costs and avoid OSHA citations, as OSHA inspectors are more likely to visit a workplace if there has been a complaint, injury, or fatality. Being prepared and remaining consistent with safety protocols is good for your employees, and good for business.
If you are interested in learning more about workplace hazards and how liability insurance coverage or workers compensation programs can protect your business consult an experienced member of our Commercial Lines team by calling (800) 333-7234. We also invite you to learn more about the services we provide at www.easterninsurance.com.