Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shares their top most-cited workplace hazards that have been the source of significant harm to workers across the country. A consolidation of more than 30,000 inspections performed by federal OSHA staff, the list identifies the big safety issues that are surprisingly similar across industries and year over year. In the U.S., over 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year and almost three million are injured.
While there are many laws in place to protect workers from these sorts of safety hazards, many employers fail to prevent these types of accidents. To learn from the hard lessons of other workers, here is a countdown of the most important things you can do to improve safety at your workplace.
9. Electrical Wiring and 10. General Electrical Requirements
Safety concerns with unprotected exposure to electricity can easily lead to death or serious injury. So much so that electrical accidents were listed as both the 9th and 10th most common source of safety citations in the last year. OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to protect employees from dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, fires and explosions. Make sure your workplace is up to code to help your employees avoid unnecessary injury or worse.
8. Machine Guarding
Machine guarding violations are often to blame for worker deaths and injuries. Make sure your company installs guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery.
Ladder citations (and accidents) are often the result of improper use of ladders, such as incorrect loads, angles, improper use of rungs, slipping and other improper usage. Review the OSHA guidelines on ladder use to make sure you are in compliance.
6. Powered Industrial Trucks
Forklifts are notoriously dangerous. Employers can reduce citations (and fatalities) by properly training staff to safely drive such machines.
Far too many workers are killed or injured every year by machinery that starts up suddenly while being repaired. Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can’t be turned during maintenance tasks.
4. Respiratory Protection
Respiratory protection is necessary to prevent long-term, even fatal, health problems from exposure to asbestos, silica or other toxins. Employers should provide the necessary protection and training to keep their staff safe and healthy.
OSHA provides unique instruction on how to improve safety of suspended and narrow frame scaffolds. Make sure your company is following the right guidance for your unique situation. Proper construction, use, load and minimization of hazards will help cut the number of safety incidents associated with scaffolding.
2. Hazard Communication
A failure in hazard communication can easily result in accidents on the work site. Safety is and should be considered everyone’s responsibility and communicating risk should always be a priority so accidents can be avoided.
1. Fall Protection
Falls are regularly among the leading causes of worker deaths and injury. Citations are often due to lack of simple fall protection such as floor hole covers, guard rail and toe-boards for elevated open-sided platforms, safety harness and lines, nets and handrails. These precautions regularly protect workers from falls.
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