Every October, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a report on the top 10 most frequently cited violations for the fiscal year. This list is compiled as a result of about 32,000 federal OSHA workplace inspections.
The most frequent violations rarely change from year to year, but serve as a valuable tool for decreasing workplace fatalities and serious injuries. "If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline," the OSHA report states.
Employers have a legal obligation to provide a safe and healthful environment for their workers. Despite this, more than 4,500 workers are killed and about 3 million are injured every year in workplace accidents.
OSHA believes that many of the yearly deaths, amputations and serious injuries could be prevented if employers worked to mitigate the following 10 safety hazards:
- Lack of fall protection and training to protect workers from falls
- Inadequate hazard communication
- Scaffolding issues
- Lack of standard respiratory protection and training
- Improper lockout/tagout procedures
- Powered industrial trucks
- Ladder malfunctions or other issues
- Problems with machine guarding
- Electrical wiring issues
- Noncompliance to general electrical requirements
This list is far from comprehensive, and OSHA encourages employers to go beyond providing the minimum standards for health and safety of employees. Creating a "culture of safety," they say, helps to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale.
If you become injured at work for any reason, including those above, you have rights as an employee. Contact an experienced lawyer to help with your workers' compensation claim.