OSHA’s Top 10 List Serves as a Lesson on Fall Protection and Prevention

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes its Top 10 List of Most Cited Violations.  A review of 2017’s list serves as a good reminder of potential hazards to be particularly aware of.  Many violations are no surprise and are Top 10 regulars, but 2017 saw a slight change with Fall Protection – Training Requirements sneaking in at No. 9.

Here’s the full list of OSHA’s Top 10 Violations from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017:

  1. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
  6. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
  8. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)
  9. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)
  10. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry (29 CFR 1910.305)

Just as in 2016, Fall Protection in construction came in first place with over 6,000 violations.  As many employers know, falls are among the most common causes of serious injuries, and even death, in the workplace. We handled several fall-related death cases last year. To prevent such hazards, employers must provide fall protection to employees at elevations of four feet in general industry jobs and six feet in construction jobs.  This may require various fall protection measures, like using guard rails and toe-boards, safety harnesses, safety nets and/or hand rails.

The inclusion of Fall Protection – Training Requirements to the Top 10 list also demonstrates the importance of adequately training workers about fall hazards.  Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it is an employer’s duty to ensure that each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards has been properly trained to recognize the hazards of falling and the procedures to follow in order to minimize such hazards.  For more information on utilizing third party trainings under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, see here.

About the Author: Lindsay E. Nadeau

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