Fall-protection violations are now the leading cause of federal health and safety violations by employers, overtaking scaffolding violations for the first time in four years, new preliminary data show.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a preliminary list of its Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2012 on Tuesday (Oct. 23) at the National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Orlando.
New Top 4
The increase in fall-protection violations was the first change to the list’s top four violations in at least three years. In FY 2011, FY 2010 and FY 2009, the Top 10 list was led by Scaffolding (1926.451), Fall Protection (1926.501), Hazard Communication (1910.1200), and Respiratory Protection (1910.134).
|A video by The Center for Construction Research and Training offers fall protection information and personal accounts by workers.|
This year, however, fall-protection violations are running significantly ahead of the new No. 2 violation, Hazard Communication, and Scaffolding is a distant third. Respiratory Protection remains at No. 4. The rest of the list is similar to that of recent years.
The preliminary Top 10 violations for FY 2012, with the relevant standard and total violations as of Oct. 23:
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501); 7,250
2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200); 4,696
3. Scaffolding (1926.451); 3,814
4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134); 2,371
5. Ladders (1926.1053); 2,310
6. Machine Guarding (1910.212); 2,097
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178); 1,993
8. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305); 1,744
9. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147); 1,572
10. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303); 1,332
Comparable preliminary trend data for previous years were not available, an NSC spokeswoman said.
Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for more than one-third of those fatalities, according to CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.
This summer, the center released an 11-minute informational video (Don’t Fall for It!) that featured first-person accounts by workers who have suffered falls and emotional testimony from the widow of a fatal fall victim.
The testimony includes that of a contractor who suffered life-altering injuries that required six hours of spinal surgery after falling just six feet and a sheet metal worker’s tale of how he used to bungee jump and ride motorcycles, but can no longer tie his shoes.
CPWR has also developed an interactive map of fatal falls in the United States.
The final report on the Top 10 violations for 2012 will be published in the December edition of the Council’s Safety+Health Magazine.
National Safety Council President and CEO Janet Froetscher thanked OSHA for sharing the data and added: “While great progress has been made in safety over the past 100 years, today’s presentation reminds us there is more to be done to make our workplaces safer.”