As they do every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) listed the 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations occurring in 2017. There weren’t any newcomers to the year’s listing of OSHA compliance except for the first-time top-10 entry: “Fall Protection — training requirements”, emerging as a result of OSHA’s new fall protection requirements. OSHA compiles this list every year on the basis of around 32,000 workplace inspections conducted by its staff.
The year 2017’s top 5 OSHA violations and penalties affecting safety
The Cost of OSHA Violations
OSHA fines violating companies differently depending on violation type ( fall, respiratory, etc…) but more importantly, fine accordingly to the activities and motivations in and around the violation. Is the company small? Is it a repeat offense? Was it a willful violation, a serious violation or any other type of violation?
A violation is considered “willful” if the employer has demonstrated either intentional disregard for the Act’s requirements or total indifference to employee safety and health.
A violation is considered “serious” if it resulted from a workplace condition that created a “substantial probability” of death or serious physical harm, or if this substantial probability of death or serious physical harm stemmed from “one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes which have been adopted or are in use, in such place of employment unless the employer did not, and could not with the exercise of reasonable diligence, know of the presence of the violation”.
A violation is considered “other-than-serious” when the hazardous condition cited would probably not result in death or serious physical harm but may have a direct and immediate impact on the safety and health of employees.
Failure to Abate
OSHA defines failure to abate as not bringing a previously cited hazardous condition, practice, or non-complying equipment into compliance since the last inspection.
Repeated violation means the employer had already been cited for the same thing at least once in the last five years.
In a year, more than 4,500 workers are killed on the job and about 3 million are injured, even though employers are required by law to provide safe and healthy workplace conditions for their employees.
It is important that your occupation or business has an OSHA safety certification. Go to the Certificate and Degree Programs page at osha.gov. Read certificate program descriptions specific to your occupation. Go to an OSHA-recommended website, and enter your zip code to search for an OTI (OSHA Training Institute) facility near you.
Apart from the obvious benefit of saving lives and limbs, closely examining where you can improve your operations in these areas will also save you a significant amount of resources.
Safety isn’t just about life, it’s also about money. That can be a lot of money, depending on the violation type.