The Most Commonly Cited OSHA Violations in 2022
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that aims to ensure the safety and health of workers in the United States. As part of its mission, OSHA sets safety standards and regulations that employers must follow to protect their employees. However, despite these regulations, OSHA violations unfortunately still occur. Here were some of the most commonly cited OSHA violations in 2022.
1. Fall Protection
Falls are one of the leading causes of death in the workplace, which is why OSHA has strict regulations when it comes to fall protection. An OSHA violation related to fall protection can occur when an employer fails to:
- Provide guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems.
- Ensure that employees use fall protection equipment properly.
- Train employees on the proper use of fall protection equipment and hazards associated with working at heights.
- Inspect and maintain fall protection equipment.
- Develop, implement, and enforce a written fall protection program.
- Properly document fall protection training and inspections.
2. Hazard Communication
OSHA requires employers to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This includes providing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for every dangerous chemical used in the workplace, as well as training employees on how to handle these chemicals safely. Unfortunately, employers often violate these regulations by failing to:
- Develop, implement, and maintain a written hazard communication program.
- Identify and label hazardous chemicals properly.
- Provide or maintain accurate MSDSs.
- Train employees on proper precautions.
- Establish and maintain an effective means of communicating about hazardous chemicals with other employers who share a worksite.
3. Respiratory Protection
Employers must give employees respiratory protection when working in areas with dangerous dust, fumes, gasses, or other airborne contaminants. This includes providing appropriate respirators and training employees to use them properly. OSHA cites employers when they fail to:
- Establish and maintain a written respiratory protection program.
- Conduct medical evaluations to determine employee’s fitness to wear a respirator.
- Train employees on the proper use of respirators and the hazards associated with exposure to airborne contaminants.
- Provide employees with appropriate respirators based on the hazards they are exposed to.
- Ensure that respirators fit properly and are being used correctly.
- Clean, maintain, and store respirators properly.
- Conduct regular evaluations of the workplace to determine the need for respirator use.
Ladders are commonly used in a variety of workplaces, but they can also be dangerous if not used properly. OSHA requires that employers provide ladders that are in good condition, able to support their maximum intended load, and used only for their intended purpose. Violations occur when employers fail to:
- Ensure that ladders are used only for their intended purposes and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Train employees on the proper use of ladders and the hazards associated with their use.
- Inspect ladders regularly for defects or damage and remove them from service if necessary.
- Use ladders only on stable and level surfaces unless they are secured or stabilized to prevent accidental movement.
- Limit the use of ladders to one person at a time, except for specific work tasks.
Scaffolding can be dangerous if not used properly. OSHA requires that employers provide scaffolding that is structurally sound and able to support its own weight and at least four times the maximum intended load. Employers must also ensure that trained and competent workers are the only ones allowed to erect, move, and dismantle scaffolding. Violations are often related to the failure to:
- Erect scaffolding according to OSHA requirements and design specifications.
- Train employees on proper use and hazards.
- Inspect regularly for defects or damage.
- Adequately secure scaffolding to prevent displacement or overturning.
When OSHA finds that an employer has violated a safety standard or regulation, the employer may be subject to penalties and fines. The severity of the punishment depends on the nature of the violation, the size of the employer, and the employer’s history of previous violations. Additionally, OSHA may require the employer to take corrective action to bring the workplace into compliance. Click here to contact a work injury attorney in Philadelphia that can help.