5 Most Common OSHA Violations of 2017

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an enforcer when it comes to assuring compliance with its own regulations and directives. As a result, many businesses find themselves inundated with fines and penalties that can be painstaking. Are you one of the businesses? Well the good news is there are several violations that are easily avoidable. In reviewing your policy and practices, you can identify, isolate, and eliminate liabilities which can save you thousands. Here is a list of the five most common OSHA violations of 2017:

  1. Electrical Wiring Methods– Believe it or not, electrical wiring gone wrong can produce a wide array of hazards and troubles; one of which is OSHA handing your business a nasty piece of literature with a big price tag. Exposed wires and improper use of extension cords are a common way many businesses get jammed with fines. This penalty was ranked #10 in 2017.
  2. Powered Industrial Trucks – In this scenario, many fines and penalties were the result of operators and drivers not having their training credentials up to speed. It is essential that all who use forklift trucks be trained on a three-year basis. Failing to do so can lead to violations galore. This is furthered and enhanced when a driver or operator is caught using the vehicle or even worse, gets into an accident. Save your enterprise the trouble and hassle of OSHA safety investigations going wrong. Make sure your drivers are compliant and up-to-date.
  3. Respiratory Protection– A key part of the material handling business is personal protective equipment. “PPE” as it is affectionately called, is a requirement anytime a work is handling a hazardous material. However, on many occasions employees and staff treat these articles as a luxury more than a necessity. Provisions for when respirators are needed and the types of respirators required are outlined in OSHA directive 1910.134. The good news is that this violation has decreased significantly in 2017.
  4. Hazard Communication – Coinciding with the third bullet-point, hazard communication is anchored in a failure to convey a potentially volatile substance to all that encounter it. This is achieved in many ways. First, failing to label the containers with the appropriate placard or label is a great way to get sanctioned. Secondly, failing to produce the required MSDS or material documents is another way to find OSHA barking at your business. In addition to these two issues, it is imperative to train your employees and keep them aware of these materials along with the aforementioned communication requirements.
  5. Fall Protection – Ironically enough this requirement is ranked #1 in violations yet it is the most easily avoidable. According to Cisco Eagle, there were 6,072 fall protection violations in the construction industry. These infractions are rooted in the failure to take steps to avoid falls, including guardrails, handrails, and mezzanine gates. Failing to have these components installed exposes employees to a higher potential of incidents that can be averted otherwise.

Bio: Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon.