It was mentioned previously in our podcast that at the NSC (National Safety Council) Congress and Expo in Orlando this past October, Deputy Director of the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, presented the top 10 violations of the administration’s safety rules for fiscal year 2012.
While it’s easy at first glance to look at the list and get discouraged thinking workplace safety has a long way to go, Kapust commented in an interview with Safety+Health that “data found in the Top 10 list is not meant to gauge how well OSHA is performing or how safe businesses in the country are. This list is at its best when used by employers as a tool to improve safety at their worksites. An employer who may be interested in what are the possible hazards in their workplace could look at the [Top 10] list and see if they’re covering all hazards and assessing the kind of changes they may have to make to their safety and health program.”
So take a look at the list – you might just find some areas for improvement!
OSHA Top 10 List:
Fall Protection in construction (1926.501) 7,250 violations Frequently violated requirements included failure to protect open sides and edges, failure to prevent falls from roofs, and failure to cover holes.
Hazard Communication (1910.1200) 4,696 violations Commonly violated requirements included failure to have a written program, inadequate employee education and training, improper or no labels on containers, and no MSDS (SDS) or lack of access to them.
Scaffolding in construction (1926.451) 3,814 violations Violations included problems with scaffold construction, improper access to scaffolding surfaces, and lack of guardrails.
Respiratory Protection (1910.134) 2,371 violations Frequent violations were no written respiratory protection program, poor fit test procedures, unsuitable respirator selection process, and lack of procedures for voluntary use of respirators.
Ladders in construction (1926.1053) 2,310 violations Violations included damaged side rails, use of the top ladder step, inappropriate ladder for the job, and excessive loads on ladders.
Machine Guarding (1910.212) 2,097 violations Violations included point of operation exposures, inadequate or no anchoring of fixed machinery, and exposure to blades.
Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) 1,993 violations Common violations were inadequate operator training and refresher training, and poor conditions of PITs when returned to service after repair.
Electrical-wiring methods ( 1910.305) 1,744 violations Violations included problems with flexible cords and cables, boxes and temporary wiring, poor use of extension cords, and using temporary wiring as permanent wiring.
Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) 1,572 violations Frequent violations were poor or no energy control procedures, inadequate worker training, and inspections not completed.
Electrical-general requirements (1910.303) 1,332 violations Common violations were related to electric shock and electrocution exposures.
For more information on the sections cited and for a comparison to the 2011 violations, check out Safety+Health’s infographic on the results.
So the U.S. Bureau of Labor released 2011 Statistics’ on workplace deaths. Turns out just over 4,600 American workers died from work-related injuries last year. Yes, this does indicate a slight decline from the previous year when more than 4,690 Americans died on the job, but in both cases that represents about 13 workplace deaths a day – and that’s too many.
In light of this, as reported over at EHS Today, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSE) is asking one key question: “Where is the concern?”
ASSE President, Richard A. Pollock (pictured, noted that the 2011 rate of workplace fatalities, in spite of a marginal decline over 2010 numbers, “alarming” and “unacceptable.”
He emphasized three key things:
Businesses need effective management systems to proactively identify any health and safety issues before they lead to injuries and fatalities.
Health and safety issues are not solely associated with dangerous industries like manufacturing and construction and appropriate prevention strategies need to be applied to protect all workers across all industries.
The safety of U.S. workers is too often limited to discussion in circles of health and safety professionals when it should be a concern shared by everyone, including all individual Americans.
Brining the issue home, Pollock summarized the matter and the need for urgency: “These incidents can be prevented. We urge all companies and organizations to take measures now to make sure they have developed and implemented management systems of control that include effective occupational safety and health programs aimed at preventing worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Remember, these are 4,609 people who left for work in the morning and never returned home to their families.”
‘Water, rest and shade’ are the three key components U.S Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis, will be focusing on promoting to outdoor workers in the upcoming summer of 2012. It’s all part of OSHA’s recently launched national outreach initiative to raise awareness over the dangers of working outside in hot weather.
Every year, heat exhaustion reaches thousands of outdoor workers in industries such as roofing, construction, transportation, utilities, and landscaping, to name a few. While onsite, what employees may initially discover with simple heat rashes and cramps can often result in severe heat stroke or even fatality.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, says these are workplace hazards that can be easily avoided with simple precautions. “Anyone who works outside is at risk”, adds Michaels, “Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in cool, shaded areas are incredibly important in the hot summer months.” To add to this awareness, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training to provide more knowledge to employees who are at risk.
We’ve all heard of a Dental Hygienist, but what about an Industrial Hygienist? Watch this video created by American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) which explains the very important and crucial role industrial hygienists play in maintaining a safe work environment.
This video’s timely release coincides with NAOSH Week which takes aim at improving education and awareness surrounding health and safety issues in the workplace.