Although OSHA releases their top 10 most mentioned workplace safety incidents yearly, they don’t change significantly with each new list. If you take note of the workplace statistics, you may feel a little overwhelmed at the information.
Taking a firm but simple approach to workplace safety is best and recommended by the deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs.
He recommends leveraging the top 10 list as a way to compare against your workplace environment. Would these hazards be present in your work environment? Using this list to get started is a good way to determine if you have hazards in the office.
1. Fall Protection
The total violations for this in 2016 was 6,906. This means that employees who are on surfaces either horizontal or vertical and were not provided with the appropriate protections against falls. Examples of these violations include unprotected sides or edges. steep roofs, holes, and skylights. All of these areas can cause injury if proper precautions are not in place.
2. Hazard Communication
This safety concern deals with chemical hazards. Either chemicals that are produced in the workplace or ones that are brought into the workplace. Citations in this area include not having a hazard program in place and training in the workplace on how to handle chemical materials that could be hazardous to health.
Scaffolding has to be designed by qualified individuals and constructed according to those designs. Employers are required to protect workers from falls and falling objects while working on scaffolding. This means having a guardrail system in place or other protections to keep workers from falling through scaffolding. This caused a total of 3,900 violations in 2016.
4. Respiratory Protection
This violation deals with ensuring employers have a respiratory protection program in place. This means ensuring that the workplace has appropriate respiratory protection standards in place as needed. Fit testing for respirators and medical evaluations for respiratory health are some of the key areas to maintaining adequate protection.
Electricity can be hazardous if not handled properly and lockout/tag out procedures for the servicing and maintenance of equipment are important to have and maintain in the workplace. Having general procedures and a general control program were two of the most common violations in this category.
6. Powered Industrial Trucks
Surprisingly, this standard in the workplace is actually 6th on the list and deals with the maintenance and operation of industrial trucks. Workplaces that have forklifts and hand trucks need to ensure safety standards in this area. This means having safe operation and certification standards for employees. Training is also essential in this area as well as ensuring that trucks are repaired and maintained on a regular basis.
Just like its name suggests, this standard has to do with any safety concern involving ladders and caused 2,665 violations in 2016. Portable ladder access was one of the top areas cited. Ladders are often not used for the purpose that they were designed for and ladders are frequently used with structural defects. Keeping ladder safety as a priority in the workplace is a key to avoiding this hazard.
8. Machine Guarding
This standard involves guarding of machinery to protect its operators as well as any other employees from hazards including rotating parts, sparks, and any other dangers possible during its operation. Machine guarding should be in place during its operation. Other primary concerns for machine guarding include anchoring any fixed machinery and guarding any blades, especially ones that are close to the ground.
9. Electrical-Wiring Methods
This standard means any violations related to improper electrical or wiring methods including grounding electrical equipment, ensuring appropriate wiring and insulation are in place. Protecting wiring from exposure is a key violation to avoid and can be a fire hazard as well as an employee hazard.
10. Electrical-General Requirements
This area is also designed for electrical hazards but is focused on the general safety requirements involved with designing electrical systems. Installation and use of systems are the top violations in this category. Guarding any live parts and keeping the space around electrical equipment free of potential hazards are also components of this category.
As you evaluate various workplace risks, be sure to reach out to us for suggestions on how to keep your Workmans Comp rates as low as possible… remember we’re here to help!