OSHA has the authority to regulate certain industries to protect the health and safety of workers. In addition to regulating policies, equipment, procedures, and safety gear, the agency also has the authority to investigate in the event of a construction accident and fine any company or organization that is in violation of OSHA regulations.
In addition to targeting chronic violators of OSHA standards, officials have also begun to release press releases that publicize fines and other violations. A new data tracking system also allows the agency to track the most common violations. Here is a list of the most common OSHA violations of 2012 in New York City and nationwide:
Fall protection: This OSHA standard outlines when fall protection is required, the systems that are appropriate, how systems should be installed, and the necessary supervision to prevent falls. Employees should be protected when walking on surfaces above 6 feet.
Hazard communication: This standard addresses the use of dangerous chemicals in the workplace. It also governs how certain hazards should be communicated to workers.
Scaffolding: Employers are required to provide safety equipment for scaffolding, including design and construction for workers performing duties above 10 feet.
Respiratory protection: OSHA regulates safety matters involving respiratory protection to prevent breathing in hazardous substances. This includes employee training, medical protection, and the use of safety masks.
Ladders: The standard regulates the use of ladders, including structure, training of employees and ladder usage.
Machinery and machine guarding: Many injuries are caused by dangerous machinery. OSHA regulates the use of guards and safety measures to prevent rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.
Powered electrical trucks: Heavy machinery can cause serious injury and death. OSHA standards govern the use, operation, and maintenance of powered electrical trucks.
Electrical wiring methods: This standard covers wire splicing, wiring, insulation and the grounding of electrical cable to prevent electrocution and electrical burns.
Lockout/Tagout: The rules govern minimum performance requirements to ensure the safety of workers when dealing with hazardous energy.
Electrical/General requirements: This standard deals generally with electrical systems. Violations of safety measures can result in explosions, burns and fires.
Source: National Safety Council, “Examining the top 10,” Nov. 29, 2012.