The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has compiled and released its review of worker safety in the United States in 2014 and sadly, not only are workers in certain industries (like construction and mining) still at high risk for injury on the job, but there are a shockingly high number of WILLFUL violations by employers and companies who continue to place profits over people.
OSHA’s 2014 TOP TEN Most Frequently Cited Violations
1. Fall protection (C)
2. Hazard communication
3. Scaffolding (C)
4. Respiratory protection
5. Powered industrial trucks
7. Ladders (C)
8. Electrical: wiring
9. Machine guarding
10. Electrical: systems design
C = Construction standard
1926.501 – Fall Protection
1910.1200 – Hazard Communication
1926.451 – Scaffolding
1910.134 – Respiratory Protection
1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout
1926.1053 – Ladders
1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
1910.212 – Machine Guarding
1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements
*As of 10/28/14
To read the full text of these regulations, see the OSHA online list of regulations.
What Is A “Willful Violation” According To OSHA?
A “willful” violation is “… committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and requirements.” It’s no mistake.
These are dangers created by the company who simply decides to ignore OSHA regulations, regardless of what might happen to their workers. It’s INTENTIONAL.
This kind of “willful” violation happen all the time.
For instance, some may remember the willful violation of OSHA standards that made the national news when the production company for a movie being filmed in Georgia (”Midnight Run”) was cited by OSHA for willful violations of OSHA regulations that contributed to the death of a stuntwoman. (See the August 14, 2014 News Release by OSHA for details).
The stuntwoman died and eight other workers were injured when an oncoming train crashed into parts of the movie set which had been placed on the track and railroad trestle, as the workers tried to outrun the train and were hit by crash debris.
However, not making as much media news as the Hollywood story just two weeks later was public notice of willful violations of OSHA regulations in Bradley, Illinois, where an Illinois construction company, Champion Roofing, was cited by OSHA for two willful safety violations in 2014 that followed on the company’s history of five previous citations by OSHA in the past five years.
“Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Allowing construction workers on roofs without fall protection is inexcusable negligence. Champion Roofing has a legal responsibility to protect workers from fall hazards, and the fact that we keep seeing the same violations over and over again means they are not taking that responsibility seriously. No worker should lose their life for a paycheck.”
Workers Deserve to Be Safe While Working On The Job
Workers in Indiana and Illinois will be facing the addtional hazards of our winter weather conditions now and for the next several months. They deserve to be kept as safe and protected as possible by their employers at all times, but particularly during this time of year. OSHA regulations protect by setting standards for safety and OSHA citations and fines work to police employers.
However, injured workers and their families also have civil personal injury law and workers’ compensation laws to protect them in the event of a serious injury or tragic death. There may be a time in our future where workers are not forced to file lawsuits against their employers for damages resulting from the company’s failure to do their duty to their workers, but as the 2014 OSHA statistics reveal, we’re not there yet.