Fall-related infractions are on track to dominate this year’s 10 top workplace safety violations, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration—a toll that has increased almost 30 percent over last year.
Scaffolding accidents led the Top 10 list, followed by Fall Protection infractions. Ladder accidents were seventh. Together, the three categories accounted for more than 4 in 10 of this year’s violations.
OSHA revealed its preliminary Top 10 most-frequent workplace safety violations for 2009 as part of a recent presentation at the National Safety Council’s annual Congress & Expo. The number of Top 10 violations has increased almost 30 percent over the same time period in 2008, OSHA said.
The workplace violations are:
1. Scaffolding (9,093 violations): Scaffold accidents most often result from the planking or support giving way, or from an employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.
2. Fall Protection (6,771 violations): Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, he or she is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime, and six feet in construction.
3. Hazard Communication (6,378 violations): Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers.
4. Respiratory Protection (3,803 violations): Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases or death.
5. Lockout-Tag out (3,321 violations): This refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
6. Electrical / Wiring (3,079 violations): Working with or near electricity can be dangerous. These violations relate to types of wiring and how many times different size wiring should be used for various projects. Violations relate to those who work with electricity directly and those who work indirectly with electricity and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
7. Ladders (3,072 violations): Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The US Department of Labor lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma.
8. Powered Industrial Trucks (2,993 violations): Each year, tens of thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks, or forklifts, occur in US workplaces. Many employees are injured when they are struck by a lift truck, when they fall while on elevated pallets and tines, when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks, or when lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer.
9. Electrical (2,556 violations): These violations involve basic electrical issues found in the general section of the Subpart S standards. As with wiring issues, violations may relate to those directly and indirectly exposed to electrical hazards.
10. Machine Guarding (2,364 violations): Any machine part, function or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injures the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.
The final report on the Top 10 for 2009 violations will be published in the December edition of Safety+Health magazine, published by NSC (www.nsc.org).