The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts inspections on job sites and in workplaces across Pennsylvania to ensure that employers follow safety protocols. In some cases, these investigations take place after accidents with serious injuries or even fatalities; other investigations happen after reports from workers who fear for their own safety.
The top 10
To better understand what regulations see the most violations, here are the top 10 directly from OSHA:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- General scaffolding requirements
- Respiratory protection
- Hazardous energy control
- Powered industrial trucks
- Machinery and guarding
- Fall protection–training
- Electrical wiring methods
These statistics come from OSHA’s 2017 records. Many, however, are issues that show up year in and year out.
The risks you face
You’ll notice from the list that some serious risks impact multiple categories. This compounds the risk on a job site and shows exactly how workers can quickly find themselves on the way to the hospital.
For example, perhaps you just got a new job six months ago. After a few months of unemployment, you were happy for any work, even though they really stressed how it was a fast-paced environment. You got the vibe that the margins were very thin and you had to work fast for them to make any money.
That mentality carried over to your training: You barely got any. They showed you where the ladders were and what jobs you had to do, but no one ever showed you how to use the fall protection equipment.
When you actually started working, you found out why. No one used fall protection equipment. Your boss implied that you shouldn’t ask for it. You felt unsure that they even had any on site. Workers just climbed ladders and scaffolds on their own.
With the company’s culture wrapped up in rushing to get the job done, it was a recipe for disaster. Sure enough, you fell on the job when a defective ladder gave out; other workers had been in too much of a hurry to check it. You suffered serious injuries, including a head injury.
There are at least three potential violations in this one event. In order they are No. 1, for not having proper fall protection, No. 6 for a ladder-related violation and unsafe equipment, and No. 9 for a lack of training with fall protection gear.
You worked at a dangerous company. Perhaps you never realized how dangerous until the accident happened, but looking at it through the lens of OSHA violations shows you just how little that company respected your safety and health. Money was the only priority.
In the wake of such a serious workplace accident, you must know all of the options at your disposal.