Like clockwork; every October, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.
You may see some repeats year after year. It seems as though injuries that are suffered in the workplace never change.
It is a sad fact that more than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers, so it is almost shocking to look at the aforementioned statistics. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards (that never change), the Department of Labor is confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline.
Here is the top 10 list of workplace injuries:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Powered industrial trucks
- Machine guarding
- Electrical wiring
- Electrical, general requirements
Employers must take all of the above issues seriously.
You may notice that many of the above stem from heights or machinery. There are way to many injuries from falling, ladders, scaffolding and machinery malfunctioning. There should be, if there are not already, proper procedures for all 10 of these violations above.
This list may signify that even though there may be procedures in place, workers are not following them, or they are untrained in their work functions to be able to properly use equipment on the job. The steps should be taken as soon as possible when an injury does take place. Businesses that are repeat offenders can suffer many consequences from law suits to being shut down. Not to mention decreased employee morale when you witness a colleague be injured on the job.
Employers should be going beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale. To help them, the DOL has released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces.