Top 10 OSHA Violations that Led to Workers’ Death and Injury in 2016

July 20, 2017

Every year, more than 4,500 workers are killed on the job, and roughly three million are injured. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth clear regulations to help prevent these injuries and deaths, negligent employers often fail to follow the rules. By cutting costs and cutting corners, reckless companies are putting their employees in needless danger.

Each year, OSHA puts out a list of the most frequent violations they encounter. Commonly, these infractions cause injury and death to employees. In 2016, the top 10 OSHA violations were:

  1. Improper fall protection. Falls are the leading cause of workplace deaths, particularly in the construction industry. Certain sites lack adequate fall protection, such as safety gear, guardrails, and covered holes and gaps. Workers may also be inadequately trained to protect themselves.
  2. Not adhering to the Hazard Communication Standard. To regulate the safe use of chemicals on a job site, OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires that chemical manufacturers provide clear and comprehensive instructions for use. Employees must also be trained to use them properly.
  3. Scaffolding issues. The most common scaffold accidents were the result of the scaffolding giving way, the employee slipping, or the employee being struck by a falling object. The vast majority of these injuries and fatalities could have been prevented by employing OSHA’s scaffolding standards.
  4. Insufficient respiratory protection. According to OSHA, respirators protect workers against “insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays.” Without well-functioning and effective respirators, workers could breathe in fatal toxins.
  5. Lack of hazardous energy control (lockout/tagout). Workers servicing or maintaining machines may be seriously harmed if hazardous energy is not controlled. Hazardous energy includes electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, or thermal energy sources in equipment and various machines.
  6. Problems involving powered industrial trucks. Commonly known as forklifts, industrial trucks are powerful machines that can strike passersby or harm the driver. Each and every person operating a forklift should be thoroughly trained and adhere to OSHA safety standards.
  7. Ladder safety violations. Basic ladder safety guidelines, such as not using the top as a step or only using a ladder for its designated purpose, help to avoid accidents. Failure to do so can cause dangerous falls.
  8. Improper machine guarding. Moving parts of industrial machinery have the power to crush body parts, cause an amputation, and otherwise severely injure a victim. According OSHA guidelines, any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.
  9. Problems with electrical wiring methods, components, and equipment. Anyone working with electricity needs to be aware of the dangers of electrocution. From electricians to engineers, all workers need to be protected from hazardous contact with power lines and must have proper training, equipment, and ground-fault protection.
  10. Faulty electrical systems design. Poorly designed electrical systems can cause fires and explosions, leading to electrocution, burns, and electric shock in workers. All electric equipment should be thoroughly examined before use.

Sadly, little changes on this list from year to year and employees continue to be hurt on the job. At Larry Pitt & Associates, we help injured workers recover the funds they need after an accident. To speak with a seasoned Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer, complete our contact form or call 888.PITT.LAW. Our lawyers work with clients in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.