OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Powered Industrial Trucks

What’s the driving force behind many industries around the globe?

Powered industrial trucks, of course – the forklifts or lift trucks used throughout many industries to move materials by raising, lowering or removing large or multiple smaller objects stacked on pallets or in boxes, crates or other containers.

As it is with all moving machinery, there’s high risk in using and being around such equipment. Because of that, Powered Industrial Trucks are included among the annual list of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) most frequently issued citations.

There are many types of powered industrial trucks and each type presents different operating hazards. For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high-lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling load accident because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck.

Workplace type and conditions are also factors … Read more...

The consequences of non-compliance

In the U.S., companies that violate Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations can end up paying a variety of prices, some that are definite and simple to calculate, and others that are less quantifiable, but real nevertheless. 

Within the former category, OSHA defines six types of violations:  

  • De Minimis – The least serious kind of violation, this is a technical one that has no direct impact on health or safety. OSHA does not issue citations or fines for such infractions.  
  • Other-than-Serious – A violation for something that is related to health or safety but would not result in serious injury or death. An employer not posting required safety documentation in a work area is an example. Fines of up to $12,934 per violation are possible. 
  • Serious – Issued when an employer that has knowledge of an existing hazard that could impact employees’ health or safety yet does nothing to
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OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Respiratory Protection Programs

It’s all about breathing easy.

In this ongoing series of blogs about the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Association’s (OSHA’s) list of 10 most cited standards, we now come to the issue of respiratory protection programs.

Sometimes, the best way to protect workers against airborne chemicals in the workplace is to use respirators. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as buying some facemasks out of the respiratory protection catalog and handing them out to workers. A respiratory protection program requires a fair bit of legwork to create and implement.

You may need a respiratory protection program (29 CFR 1910.134) if your workers are exposed to a hazardous level of an airborne contaminant, and their exposure cannot be reduced below the OSHA permissible exposure limit through the use of engineering controls (for example, substitution or mechanical ventilation), or if workers are exposed to oxygen-deficient atmospheres. You may also require workers to … Read more...

Compliance — What’s Involved?

In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stipulates that employers must “provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.”

Interestingly, the OSH Act itself contains no regulations on Occupational Health and Safety. OSHA, however, has promulgated countless regulations under the authority granted to it by the Act. These regulations cover virtually every conceivable health or safety hazard in the workplace.

Among their many requirements under the OSH Act, employers must:

  • examine their workplace conditions to make sure they conform to the standards that apply to them
  • make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment
  • establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements
  • keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers with 10 or fewer employees and
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OSHA’s Most Common Citations – Part 3: Lockout/Tagout

Downtime may be the worst time when it comes to workplace hazards.

When a machine or other equipment operates normally, workers are protected from most of its potential hazards, assuming they operate the machinery safely and as prescribed. But when it is necessary to expose the inside of equipment for the purposes of maintenance or repair, workers may be exposed to hazards that are normally enclosed, guarded, or otherwise inaccessible. At those times, it is important to make sure that no part of the machine could unexpectedly start up, cycle, fall or release energy that could injure a worker. This is done by neutralizing all energy sources before beginning a task, and locking or tagging them out of service.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) lockout/tagout standard, (29 CFR 1910.147) requires employers to:

  • Create energy control procedures for each piece of machinery or equipment that could pose a
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H&S Compliance Basics: Key Regulatory Bodies, by Region

In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 stipulates what employers are responsible for in the area of H&S. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), part of the U.S. Ministry of Labor, was created in 1971 to enforce the Act and amend it when necessary.

Individual U.S. states are encouraged, but not required, to establish their own safety and health administrations. In 2018, 26 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had OSHA-approved plans. Many state plans adopt standards identical to OSHA. OSHA approves and monitors all state plans and provides up to 50 percent of the funding for each program. State-run safety and health programs must be at least as effective (ALAE) as the federal OSHA program. Twenty-two of these programs cover both private and state and local government workers. OSHA provides coverage to certain workers specifically excluded from a state plan, such … Read more...

OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Hazard Communications

Hazard communication is one of OSHA’s perennial top-10 citations. Without the labeling and training required by the hazard communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), workers might not realize that the chemicals they work with every day could be causing cancer, allergies, lung disease or reproductive harm.

After all, while you can clearly see that a sharp blade might cut your arm off, the link between a chemical exposure and a cancer that doesn’t appear until 20 years later is much less visible.

That said, the requirements of the hazard communication standard are fairly straightforward.

  • Employers are required to make a list of all chemicals that are present in the workplace.
  • Employers must have a written hazard communication plan that addresses all facets of compliance, including in-house labeling systems, contractor chemical safety, and unlabeled pipes.
  • Chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors are required to ensure that chemicals are properly labeled. Employers receiving these
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OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Ladders and Scaffolds

Falls are one of the leading causes of serious injury and death in the workplace, and OSHA is serious about preventing them. Four of the agency’s 10 most cited standards in 2017 were related to fall prevention, including the rules for ladder safety and scaffolds.

In 2016, OSHA updated its general industry walking-working surfaces standards (found in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D) and its scaffold standards (found in Subpart I). With the exception of some requirements for updating fixed ladders, the requirements of the updated standards became effective in 2017.

Workers must be protected from falling when they use fixed or portable ladders, as well as mobile ladder stands and platforms. OSHA requires all ladders to be:

  • Capable of supporting their maximum intended load. Mobile ladder stands and platforms must be capable of supporting four times their maximum intended load.
  • Inspected before each work shift for defects that could cause
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Taking the Headache Out of Health and Safety Compliance

It’s a cold, hard fact of doing business: at some point, you’re going to have to prove to regulators that you’re providing your employees a safe and healthy workplace. Demonstrating your company’s compliance with Health and Safety regulations can take many forms, including regularly submitting accident and injury reports to government or providing necessary data to inspectors, should they show up at your door.

Maintaining compliance can be an onerous task, what with capital expenditures on equipment, staff training costs and keeping reports and data organized and easily accessible. A new Intelex Insight Report looks to help take the headache out of the compliance process by examining:

  • The key areas that regulators such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) demand compliance on.
  • The benefits of being compliant. While risk can never be completely eliminated from the work process, maintaining compliance can result in numerous monetary and non-monetary
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Making sense of OSHA’s E-recordkeeping Rule

Mandatory submission of injury and illness data to OSHA through a dedicated Web-based portal should, in theory, make the process quick and easy. However, a recent spate of real and proposed changes to the agency’s E-Recordkeeping Rule has left many employers wondering if they are required to submit injury and illness data for certain establishments, by when they must do it, and what the consequences are of not submitting the data.

The latest in Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s OSHA webinar series addressed these topics and provided some much-needed clarity for employers. Dan Deacon, an Associate in the Washington, D.C.-based law firm’s OSHA Practice group, highlighted an important change to the annual electronic recordkeeping requirement promulgated under the Obama Administration in May 2016. Under the plain text of the Rule, this year, establishments with 250 or more employees are supposed to submit not only their 300A data, but also data from … Read more...