As we discussed in our last post, this week Indiana’s National Safety Council is hosting the world’s largest safety advocates conference over in Indianapolis. One of the highlights of the week is the early release by the Department of Labor of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s annual Top Ten List of Violations during the fiscal year 2017.
Explains National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman, “The OSHA Top 10 is more than just a list; it is a blueprint for keeping workers safe. When we all work together to address hazards, we can do the best job possible to ensure employees go home safely each day.”
Last Year’s Top Ten OSHA Violation List
First, let’s consider the Top Ten List from OSHA for the fiscal year 2016. From the OSHA site, these were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2016 (October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016):
- Fall protection, construction
- Hazard communication standard, general industry
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
- Respiratory protection, general industry
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry
- Ladders, construction
- Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry
- Electrical systems design, general requirements, general industry.
Preview of Full Report in December 2017
Yesterday, the latest Top Ten List was released. Details on each of the categories will be presented in December 2017. Meanwhile, here is what we know of the most dangerous conditions facing American workers on the job right now.
For the first time, protection from falls has made the Top Ten twice as safety violations recorded by OSHA. See Number 9: “Fall Protection – Training Requirements” and Number 1, “Fall Protection – General Requirements.”
Top Ten Dangers According to OSHA
Here is the list as it has been released at the NSC conference with our hyperlinked notations to the corresponding citation in the Code of Federal Regulations and its respective violation category:
- Fall Protection – General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451)
- Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
- Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147)
- Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053)
- Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
- Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212
- Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503
- Electrical – Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305).
Rising Danger of Fall Injuries (Slip and Fall; Trip and Fall)
It would appear that there is a growing threat to those on the job to have a serious injury or fatal accident from a fall on the work site, given that we see two distinct categories dealing with fall protection and the new entry of number nine (9) on the latest list.
According to OSHA, falls are a tremendous danger to workers in all sorts of job environments. Falls can result in serious injuries. Employees can die from a fall from a scaffold or elevated work area, as well as into holes in floors and in open ground.
From the Labor Department’s perspective, it is the job of the employers and the companies that depend upon these workers to protect them from these kinds of fall accidents. As OSHA explains, the duties of companies and corporations who hire people to work for them include:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
- Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
Accordingly, there are a series of federal regulations that exist to impose guidelines and protections for workers from slip and fall and trip and fall injuries. These include CFRs mandating fall protection as follows:
- For any area where there is dangerous equipment or machinery; as well as
- For any elevation of four feet or more in general industry workplaces,
- For any elevation of five feet or higher in shipyards,
- For any elevation of six feet or higher in any construction site, and
- For any elevation eight feet or more in longshoring operations.
Furthermore, the federal regulations require that employers:
- Guard every hole in the floor where a worker might accidentally fall into with either a cover for the hole, or a toe-board or railing;
- Have guard rails and toe-board around all elevated open sided platforms, floors or runways.
- Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
- Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.
Fall Accident Claims for Serious Injury or Death While on the Job in Indiana or Illinois
The reality that falls present serious dangers to those working here in our communities and neighborhoods is not news. Workers in Indiana and Illinois have been exposed to the risk of being severely hurt or killed on the job in a slip and fall incident or a trip and fall accident for a long time. See:
- Serious or Fatal Slip and Fall Injuries: The Employer’s Duty of Care
- Slip and Fall Accidents in the Workplace: Severe Injury or Death on the Job
- Construction Worker Accidents: National Stand-Down for Fall Safety
- Employers Continue to Violate OSHA Safety Standards for Fall Protection
- Injuries From Falls on the Rise: Falling Accident Dangers at Work, Home, and School
The danger is not new. What is to be discussed and considered now is how best to make things safer for workers on the job here. Falls are a bigger risk than ever. This must change. Let’s be careful out there!