OSHA announced its preliminary Top 10 list of most cited violations for fiscal year 2017 at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo in September. The announcement was made by Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs.
Although this annual list of the most frequently cited violations almost always features the same hazard categories, the individual rankings do shift in their ranking a bit. This year, six of the 10 categories held the same position as last year. The three categories that switched positions were Ladders (No. 6), Powered Industrial Trucks (No. 7), and Electrical Wiring Methods (No. 10). Fall Protection – Training Requirements (No. 9) is new to the list this year. The General Electrical Requirements category dropped out of the top 10 this year.
In reviewing this year’s data, it’s interesting to note the total number of violations for all 10 categories (28,774) was far lower than last year’s total (35,019) number of violations.
No. 1 Violation: Fall Protection
Fall Protection retains its No. 1 position on this important list. These violations are associated with the Fall Protection rules of OSHA 1926.501, which sets forth requirements for employers to provide fall protection systems for its employees. The good news is this category posted 834 fewer incidents than last year. There were a total of 6,072 violations issued in this category.
No. 2 Violation: Hazard Communication
Hazard Communication remained in the No. 2 position. The purpose of this group of rules is to ensure the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are classified — and that information concerning the classified hazards is properly transmitted to employers and employees. The requirements of 1910.1200 are consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), Revision 3. Fortunately, this category posted 1,479 fewer incidents than last year. There were a total of 4,176 violations issued in this category.
No. 3 Violation: Scaffolding
Violations related to Scaffolding use are still widespread across many industries. It’s important to note that the rules of 1926.451 do not apply to aerial lifts — the criteria for which are set out exclusively in 1926.453. The good news here is that this year's total number of violations was 612 less than last year. There were a total of 3,288 violations issued in this category.
No. 4 Violation: Respiratory Protection
The rules of 1910.134, which focus on Respiratory Protection, apply to General Industry (part 1910), Shipyards (part 1915), Marine Terminals (part 1917), Longshoring (part 1918), and Construction (part 1926). Violations associated with respiratory protection requirements apply to many different trades in the construction industry as well as plant/facility workers. There were 476 fewer violations issued in this category this year, as compared to last year's listing. Overall, there were 3,097 violations issued in this category.
No. 5 Violation: Lockout/Tagout
Lockout/Tagout rules are vitally important for many different types of employees. Standard 1910.147 establishes minimum performance requirements for the control of such hazardous energy. This standard covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or startup of the machines or equipment — or release of stored energy — could harm employees. There were 529 fewer incidents reported in this category as compared to last year. There were a total of 2,877 violations issued in this category.
No. 6 Violation: Ladders
Section 1926.1053 applies to all Ladders, including job-made ladders. These rules apply to many different plants/facilities as well as all types of construction sites. This category moved up one place on the ranking from last year. However, there were 384 fewer violations issued in this category this year, as compared to last year's listing. There were a total of 2,241 violations issued in this category.
No. 7 Violation: Powered Industrial Trucks
Although violations associated with Powered Industrial Trucks don’t often come to mind when thinking about electrical work, OSHA issues a lot of citations in this area. Section 1910.178 contains safety requirements relating to fire protection, design, maintenance, and use of fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines. The number of violations in this category decreased by 693 over last year and it dropped to number seven on the ranking list. There were a total of 2,162 violations issued in this category.
No. 8 Violation: Machine Guarding
As noted in 1910.212, one or more methods of Machine Guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of guarding methods include barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, and electronic safety devices. This category saw a decrease of 515 violations this year. There were a total of 1,933 violations issued in this category.
No. 9 Violation: Fall Protection – Training Requirements
This violation category is new to the top 10 list this year. Section 1926.503 focuses on Fall Protection – Training Requirements. The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards. There were a total of 1,523 violations issued in this category.
No. 10 Violation: Electrical Wiring Methods
The good news here is that this “electrically focused” category dropped to last place on this list. Section 1910.305 focuses on Electrical Wiring Methods, components, and equipment for general use. It does not, however, apply to conductors that are an integral part of factory-assembled equipment. This category saw 532 fewer violations this year as compared to last year's listing. There were a total of 1,405 violations issued in this category.
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