How to Spot OSHA Violations

The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a Universal government agency mandated to ensure that health and safety measures are maintained at workplaces. It does this by setting up safety protocols, training, education, and enforcement measures to avoid workplace injuries. The agencies also conduct regular inspections and impose heavy fines and citations to the non-complying firms.

Knowing how to spot these violations will help you avoid the heavy fines, educate employees on the safety measures, and enforce them. 

Common Violations in the Workplace Environment

  1. Fall Protection- General Requirements

This is a set standard for ensuring employees do not slip or fall in the workplace. Employers should ensure their workplace is safe by training their workers and providing protective gear and footwear. Safety guards that prevent workers from accidental falls should be installed.  The working place should also be well lit and the floor should be dry and free of clutter. Failure to comply with the set standard will attract hefty fines when OSHA inspectors visit your site.

  1. Scaffolding

OSHA has specified the required designs for scaffolds – must-have equipment especially in the construction industry for working on high heights on specific projects. OSHA requires employers to ensure qualified personnel design these scaffolds to reduce the risk of workers falling or slipping. 

  1. Hazard Communication

OSHA requires employers to provide employees with training on the chemicals they use in the workplace. The employers should also communicate the hazards involved in handling the chemicals, do appropriate labeling and warning. Workers should know the appropriate gear to wear and ensure they comply with the safety regulations.

  1. Lockout/ Tag-out

This refers to safety protocols put in place to protect the workers from the risk of injury from the unexpected start of a machine under repair or maintenance. It also involves safety from the release of harmful energy during equipment servicing or maintenance.

  1. Ladders

Ladders contribute to major accidents involving falls at the workplace. OSHA has specified the requirements of a standard ladder that need to be observed. General usage of the ladder should be taught to the staff.

  1. Machine Guarding

Workers can be exposed to the risk of injury when machines with rotating parts or objects that ought to be guarded are not guarded. OSHA requires employees to be trained and safety precautions enforced to prevent injuries caused by unguarded machines. To comply with the set standard employers should ensure that old and faulty guards are replaced.

  1. Respiratory Protection- General Industry

Employees that work with toxic chemicals are at risk of contracting respiratory problems. Employers should safeguard the respiratory health of the workers by providing protective gear. Training of the workers should also be done. Non-compliance to OSHA regulations regarding respiratory protection can attract heavy penalties during an inspection.

  1. Eye and Face Protection

In a workplace environment that requires workers to come in contact with chemicals and other environmental hazards, employers must provide the workers with protective gear. Proper training on the use and disposal of chemicals should also be done.

  1. Powered Industrial Trucks

OSHA requires employers to provide training to workers on the identification of hazards when operating forklifts and other powered industrial trucks. Employers should ensure only licensed and authorized personnel to operate machines.

  1. Electrical-Wiring methods

Improper electrical wiring can result in the creation of a risky workplace. Employers should ensure that the workplace is free from faulty connections by enforcing OSHA protocols.

In summary. OSHA violations are imposed on employers when a company disregards the safety protocols either unknowingly or knowingly. ‘Serious violations occur when the employer knowingly violates the OSHA regulations that can potentially result in death. ‘Willful violations’ occur when employers intentionally violate the OSHA regulations that can lead to employee’s injury. 

‘Other than serious violations’ occur when an employer violates OSHA regulations that may not lead to death but relate directly to the worker’s safety. The last one is ‘repeated violations, these occur when a previously cited violation is not complied by an organization

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