The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regularly inspects workplaces throughout the U.S. to ensure that they are safe and that employers are in compliance with federal standards to keep their employees safe. Despite the fact that employers should be in compliance with federal regulations and that they know they are subject to OSHA inspections, however, many employers still violate these OSHA standards, putting their workers at needless risk of accidents, injuries and deaths.
In this blog series, we will point out the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards. Violations of these standards can lead to serious penalties for employers, as they put their workers’ lives and safety at risk.
1 – Fall Protection (1926.501)
As the most frequently cited OSHA standard, this standard regarding fall protection essentially outlines when employers need to have “fall protection systems” (like, for example, railings) to prevent workers from falling. While there are various aspects of this OSHA standard, some of the more notable ones are the facts that employers are required to:
- Use “guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems” for “unprotected sides and edges” where the lower level is at least 6 feet below
- Provide the appropriate fall protections at “leading edges,” “hoist areas” and around “holes and excavations.”
When employers violate this OSHA standard, they are essentially putting their workers at a serious risk of falling and sustaining severe (if not fatal) injuries.
2 – Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
This second most frequently cited OSHA standard pertains to hazards and chemicals, specifically in that these substances should be classified and that employees should be educated about them. Additionally, this OSHA standard requires that, among other things, employers must have a “comprehensive hazard communication program” that includes:
- Appropriate and clear container labeling
- Other necessary forms of warnings regarding the risks or hazards associated with certain chemicals or substances
- Safety data sheets available for employee education and use
- Employee training regarding the proper use, storage, etc. for various chemicals in the workplace.
Violations of this OSHA standard can mean that employers are exposing workers to potentially dangerous chemicals and substances without educating workers on how to safely use or interact with these chemicals.
We will continue our discussion regarding the most frequently violated OSHA standards in the upcoming second and third parts of this blog series – be sure to check it out!
Colorado Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Michael P. Dominick
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