OSHA has released its list of the most frequently cited safety violations for the construction trade. As usual, fall protection far and away leads the list, and the majority of the top citations have to deal with employees working at heights. This list covered the period from October 2020 through September 2021.
Listed in the WillScot Blog and several other construction-oriented websites, the top ten are as follows:
Fall protection: This should come as no surprise; OSHA issued nearly 200 citations for over $1.5M in fines. Falls are the most common cause of death and injury on the jobsite.
Scaffolding: OSHA issued 83 citations here; scaffolding needs to support sufficient weight and be setup according to proper protocol.
Ladder safety: Ladder safety, like with any apparatus that takes workers off the ground, is imperative to keep workers from falling.
Excavation: This means that all surface encumbrances and underground installations, including sewer, water, electric, fuel and telephone, must be identified before excavations begin.
Excavation protection demands that a company follow the mandates to make sure of the safety of the above.
Health and safety provisions require an employer to make the workplace as safe as possible.
Fall protection systems: Contractors cited for this violation did not make sure proper fall protection systems were in place.
Training programs: This led to 38 citations, as proper training is imperative so workers know how to keep safe.
Aerial lifts: Thirty-two contractors were cited for improper use of lifts.
Respiratory protection includes proper use of PPE to keep workers safe from chemical and disease.
Further down the line included citations regarding lead abatement, eye and face protection, and hand tools.
"Absolutely no excuse" for contractor workplace violations
Oregon OSHA has fined a contractor based in the city of Seaside more than $15,000 for violating job safety standards during a residential roofing project. According to the Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services, contractor was cited for were three repeat offenses including one that exposed workers to potential falls that could have resulted in serious injury or death.
The citation stems from an inspection the division launched in response to a complaint about a lack of fall protection for employees working on a multi-story house, where the inspectors found two employees working on the roof up to 22 feet high, with no protection against potential falls. Once there is a potential to fall six feet or more, the basic fall protection rule requires employers to implement protective systems, such as a personal fall restraint system.
“Repeatedly violating workplace safety standards – standards that are proven to protect workers against fall hazards – serves only one purpose: to increase the risk to employees of serious harm or death,” said Julie Love, interim administrator for Oregon OSHA. “And there is absolutely no excuse for it.”
Altogether, Oregon OSHA cited the contractor for the following violations and proposed penalties totaling $15,850:
Failure to provide fall protection systems where workers were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a repeat violation.
Total proposed penalty: $15,000.
Failure to provide documentation of fall protection training for the employees doing the roofing job. It was a repeat violation.
Total proposed penalty: $500
Failure to document, make available, and maintain for three years a written record of safety meetings addressing such issues as hazards related to tools, equipment, the work environment, and unsafe work practices. It was a repeat violation.
Total proposed penalty: $350
Under Oregon OSHA’s rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat offenses, however in this case, the company’s small size was taken into consideration.