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Fall Protection Requirements Top 10 Most Common OSHA Violations for 2018

The annual list of the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA safety standard violations in U.S. workplaces features many familiar hazards and one workplace safety standard on the list for the first time.

Patrick Kapust, deputy director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, told the NSC’s Safety+Health magazine that the Top 10 list represents the most frequently cited standards. He said they are a good place for employers to start to identify hazards in their own workplace and to raise worker awareness of potential work hazards.

The list represents an estimated total of 32,266 violations filed during Fiscal Year 2018.

Fall Protection – Lack of fall protection tops the list of safety infringements for the eighth consecutive year. Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths, OSHA says.

OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926.501 outlines where fall protection is required, which systems are appropriate, the proper installation of safety systems, and appropriate supervision of employees to prevent falls. The fall protection general requirements are designed to protect workers who are working or walking on surfaces with an unprotected side or edge above 6 feet.

Kapust reported at a National Safety Council conference that common fall protection violations included failure to provide fall protection for workers on roofs and those working near unprotected ledges. Many of the 7,216 OSHA citations were issued to roofing contractors, framing contractors, masonry contractors, and new single-family housing construction contractors. Are you concerned that your employer might be among a large number of North Carolina companies that don’t have the required workers’ compensation insurance? There’s an easy way to find out details about your employer’s coverage.

More Top OSHA Violations in 2018

Standards 2 through 9 on the OSHA top ten violations in 2018 were:

  1. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200). Includes lack of a written program, inadequate training, and failure to properly develop or maintain safety data sheets. The types of businesses most commonly cited for the violation in 2018 were auto repair facilities, hotels, and motels.
  2. Scaffolds — General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.451). Includes lack of proper decking, failure to provide personal fall arrest systems and/or guardrails where required, and failure to ensure that supported scaffolds are adequately supported on a solid foundation. A commonly cited violation among masonry, siding and framing contractors.
  3. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134). Includes failure to establish a program, failure to perform required fit testing and failure to provide medical evaluations. A frequently cited violation among auto body refinishing shops, painting contractors and wall-covering contractors.
  4. Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147). Includes failure to establish an energy control procedure, failure to provide adequate training, failure to develop machine-specific procedures and failure to use lockout/tagout devices or equipment.
  5. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053). This violation includes using ladders for unintended purposes, using the top step of a stepladder and ladders with broken steps and failure to have side rails extend 3 feet beyond a landing surface. A common safety issue among roofing, framing, siding and masonry contractors.
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178). The standard covers failure to train or certify forklift operators, failure to remove deficient or damaged forklifts from service and failure to evaluate forklift drivers every 3 years. A widespread safety issue that is particularly prevalent in warehousing and storage facilities, fabricated and structural metal manufacturing, and wood container and pallet manufacturing.
  7. Fall Protection — Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503). The standard addresses failure to provide fall protection training to each person required to receive it, failure to certify training in writing, failure to ensure training is provided by a competent person and failure to train in the proper use of guardrails and personal fall arrest systems.
  8. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212). Includes failure to guard points of operation, failure to ensure guards are securely attached to machinery and failure to properly anchor fixed machinery. The removal of protective machine guards is a common issue in machine shops, fabricated metal manufacturing and plastics manufacturing.

The new addition to the list of OSHA violations, at No. 10, is the standard for Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102). It addresses appropriate personal protective equipment for workers exposed to eye or face hazards, such as flying particles and chemical gases or vapors. There were 1,528 violations of the safety standard identified in FY 2018.

Kapust said in many of the cases, eye protection was not provided or simply was not used. In some cases, employees were allowed to wear combinations of prescription and safety eyewear that compromised the protective qualities of safety eyewear. The increase in violations could be due to new tasks assigned to employees or tasks that employers took on without conducting a hazard identification and assessment, which would have indicated the need for eye protection.

How to File A Workers Comp Claim After an OSHA Violation

OSHA standards are intended to prevent occupational injuries and deaths. When they are violated and workplace injury or death results, the injured worker should receive workers’ compensation for medical costs and a portion of lost income. After fatal work accidents, surviving family members may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits. Employers who violate OSHA standards may face fines, as well.

To obtain workers’ compensation after an injury suffered on the job, you need to:

  • Notify your employer about your injury in writing within 30 days of the accident.
  • Get medical care for your injury.
  • Keep track of the cost of your injury.
  • Obtain a statement from your doctor that you are or were unable to work due to an injury suffered while performing your job duties.
  • Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to protect your rights and assist with any challenges to your claim by your employer or their benefits administrator. Our attorneys can represent you in a hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which hears disputed workers’ compensation claims.

Contact Our Raleigh Workers’ Comp Lawyers

If you are an employee and have been injured while performing your job duties, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in most cases, regardless of who caused the accident. But the workers’ compensation system is complex, and employers and insurers sometimes dispute valid claims to try to avoid paying claims to deserving workers or their families.

The Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., are committed to helping injured workers obtain all of the benefits provided by law after a serious on-the-job injury. Our workers’ comp claim consultations are absolutely free and without obligation. Even if you don’t hire us, you will have a better understanding of your legal options. To learn more about how we can help you, contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., today.

About the Author

Robert C. Younce, JR
Chip is an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks and concentrates his law practice in personal injury and workers’ compensation law. He has tried over 100 workers’ comp cases to Opinion and Award and about a dozen personal injury jury trials to verdict. He has been board-certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a specialist in workers’ compensation law since 2001.

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