By Dan Cook
Next time you spot one of your employees putting a box on a chair in order to reach a burnt-out light bulb, seize the teachable moment.
Explain that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has reported for two years in a row that more workplaces
are cited for lack of “fall protection” than any other incident, and that your worker should wear safety shoes, a harness and helmet before attempting to replace the bulb. You can also tell your employee you will set up a guardrail around his or her chair next time a light goes out.
Yes, OSHA has released its Top 10 Violations list for FY13, and fall protection led the list for the second straight year, with 8,241 citations issued. OSHA has this to say about “fall protection:”
“Employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees
from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls.” You can visit this site for more fall protection guidelines.
OSHA said it assigns the highest fines against violators of this standard; Republic Steel was whacked for more than $1 million in fines last year, mostly for fall protection violations. Of the 775 fatalities in the construction industry in 2012, 36 percent were from falls.
Here are the other most-cited violations:
Hazard communication: 6,156 (refers mainly to labeling hazard chemicals);
Respiratory protection: 3,879;
Electrical, wiring methods: 3,452;
Powered industrial trucks: 3,340;
Lockout/tagout: 3,254 (refers to protecting employees from hazardous energy sources on machines and equipment);
Electrical, general requirement: 2,745;
Machine guarding: 2,701.
Something is working to reduce workplace fatalities, according to OSHA stats. Workplace deaths were down in FY12 by 7 percent compared to FY11, and deaths have plummeted 22 percent compared to 2007’s total of 5,657 deaths.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com