The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) guarantees the safety of US workers whilst carrying out their work duties. However, despite stringent laws, the OHSA issues 40,000 citations for safety violations each year.
Violations are costly to employers, with each one setting them back up to $7,000. But for employees the violations can be downright dangerous, leading to serious injuries, and in extreme cases, death.
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Falls are the leading cause of fatalities and debilitating injuries in the industry and construction sectors. Employees have the legal responsibility to protect their workforce from falls by repairing holes in the floor or walls and making overhead platforms secure.
Hazardous materials must be clearly labelled and accompanied by safety data sheets. Employees that regularly handle hazardous chemicals must also receive the appropriate training to do so.
Without the proper training, scaffolding can be a dangerous piece of equipment. There are stringent rules surrounding the use and stature of scaffolding, as well as the conditions in which it is permitted to be used.
Noxious gases can cause respiratory issues and, in some cases, death. Workers who are exposed to dangerous gases must be provided with respiratory protection. Any failure to do so is a violation of workplace safety laws.
While many ladder accidents are simply that, an unforeseen accident, improper ladder use and ladders ill-equipped for the job cause a significant number of accidents each year. The OSHA sets out strict guidelines on how far apart the ladder rungs must be and which ladders should be used for what purpose.
Industrial vehicles are built for strength. The durable nature that makes them so well-suited for moving industrial-grade products, makes them highly dangerous in the event of an accident. Improper weight distribution and loading, undertrained employees, and falls often occur when employees are using forklifts and industrial trucks.
Moving parts in heavy machines pose a significant risk to the workforce. As a result, it is the employers’ responsibility to take steps to mitigate accidents and make the machines safer. Machine guards should be employed at all times, as should stringent procedures for machine cleaning, and a rigorous training schedule.
Electrical hazards are often job-specific. However, any employee working with wiring and installation must be trained and licensed. More generally, the employer should ensure wiring on the job site is well-maintained and there is minimal risk of electrical shocks and fires.
Every year, a number of employees are injured by the unexpected release of energy. Proper lockout procedures ensure that dangerous levels of energy are properly controlled, and the risks are mitigated where possible.
Electrical Equipment Inspections
All electrical equipment must be installed and used in accordance with factory instructions.
These are the ten most common workplace safety violations dealt with by legal experts and attorneys across the US each year. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of any of these violations, seek legal counsel at the earliest opportunity to protect your legal rights.