You may be working in a dangerous environment without realizing it. And even if you do see the occasional unsafe situation, you may not recognize just how much danger you could be in when you are on the job.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the following is a list of the 10 most frequently cited violations they observed during workplace inspections last year.
- Insufficient fall protection – Falls are a leading cause of serious work-related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up work spaces to minimize the risk of employees falling off of elevated work stations, overhead platforms or into holes.
- Misclassification or insufficient notice regarding hazardous chemicals – Workers must have access to information about the identities and hazards of chemicals being used in the workplace.
- Inadequate respiratory protection – Employers must comply with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard – particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Unsafe scaffolding — The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 61 fatalities occurred in the year 2018 from scaffolds and staging. In addition to New York’s unique Scaffold Law, OSHA sets industry-specific standards for scaffolding safety.
- Unsafe ladders – Ladders that are not properly secured or maintained create a significant fall risk, contributing to the number one violation cited above.
- Uncontrolled hazardous energy – Electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, thermal and other energy sources can be dangerous if not managed carefully. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures are essential to keep workers safe.
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- Unapproved modifications, failed maintenance and improper fire protection of specialized industrial trucks – Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts, are powerful machines that can be dangerous. Employers must ensure that operators are fully trained and that forklifts are maintained properly to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.
- Failure to provide training programs to workers exposed to falling hazards – Part of preventing workplace falls is providing adequate training to workers – though that does not diminish the importance of minimizing fall risks in the workplace.
- Failure to require eye and face protection – Work-related blindness and other eye injuries affect thousands of people each year. Often, these injuries are preventable with proper face and eye protection. OSHA requires that employers provide proper eye protection to protect workers against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants and hazards.
- Missing or defective machinery and machine guards – Moving machine parts can cause a wide range of serious injuries, including crushing, amputation, burns, blindness and many others. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded.
It is important to note that this list is certainly not exhaustive; countless other violations can occur, depending on where you work. One thing that remains the same no matter what your workplace consists of is that employers must observe state and federal safety regulations. If they fail in this duty, workers can be injured or killed.
It can also help people see how simple it can be to protect workers. For instance, preventing workplace injuries could be as straightforward as providing safety equipment. With this in mind, it can be especially frustrating when an employer fails to take these steps.
If a negligent company or contractor has failed to take important safety precautions and you or someone you love has been seriously injured as a result, you have rights and options. Contact the established workplace injury attorneys at Arye, Lustig & Sassower, P.C., for a free consultation. We have more than 50 years of experience fighting for New York workers.