Monthly Archives: November, 2018

  1. Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2018 Part 2

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for establishing rules and regulations to help decrease the prevalence of workplace injuries. Every October, safety professionals gather to discuss the most pressing issues in the world of workplace safety in health. In part one of this two-part series, our OSHA attorneys discussed the top 10 OSHA violations of 2018. So far, we have discussed the five most common OSHA violations:

    • Duty to Provide Fall Protection
    • Hazard Communication
    • Scaffolds – General Requirements
    • Respiratory Protection
    • Lockout/Tagout

    Now, we will discuss the other five most common OSHA violations in 2018.

    Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053) – 2,812 Violations

    OSHA violations related to the use of ladders commonly involved a failure to utilize side rails that extend 3 feet beyond the landing surface, improper use of ladders, utilizing the top step of a ladder, and using ladders that have damaged steps or rails. Common violators of this OSHA standard include roofing, framing, siding, and masonry contractors.

    Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178) – 2,294 Violations

    Contractors were commonly cited for failing to address deficiencies in their vehicular camp. For instance, contractors can be issued a citation for utilizing a damaged forklift or allowing an untrained or uncertified employee to operate a forklift. Similarly, if you fail to evaluate forklift drivers at least once every three years, you could receive an OSHA violation.

    Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503) – 1,982 Violations

    If you fail to provide adequate training to every member of your workforce, you could find yourself on the receiving end of an OSHA citation. In addition to providing your workers with training, you need to document all training in writing and ensure that sessions are conducted by a qualified professional.

    Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212) – 1,972 Violations

    Violations typically include a failure to protect points of operation, ensure that guards are secured to machinery, and properly anchor stationary machinery. This type of violation can occur in an array of industries related to the construction industry, but most commonly, machine guarding violations occur on the supply side of construction in machine shops, fabricated metal manufacturing plants, and plastics manufacturing plants.

    Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102) – 1,536 Violations

    Last but not least, personal protective and lifesaving equipment violations have replaced electrical wiring methods as the tenth most common OSHA violation in 2018. As a contractor, you will be issued a citation if you fail to equip your workforce with proper protection from physical hazards, caustic hazards, gases, vapors, or other risks.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA attorney, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  2. Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2018 Part 1

    Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes a list of the most common OSHA violations. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, announced the top 10 violations for the 2018 fiscal year at the 2018 National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Houston, Texas. Although this announcement was made before a standing-room-only crowd comprised primarily of safety professionals, the news quickly spread from coast to coast.

    In this two-part article, a knowledgeable Florida OSHA lawyer will catch you up on the top 10 OSHA violations of 2018, which covers violations from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018. By working with your team to avoid these common violations, you can lay the groundwork for a safer work environment that keeps you and your team happy and healthy.

    Duty to Provide Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501) – 7,270 Violations

    For several years, the duty to provide fall protection has been OSHA’s most commonly issued citation. The violations that fall under the umbrella of this standard mainly include the failure to provide adequate fall protection in close proximity to unprotected sides or edges on roofs with varying slopes. This citation was most commonly issued to roofing contractors, framing contractors, masonry contractors, and new single-family housing construction contractors.

    Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200) – 4,552 Violations

    Hazard communication is another commonly cited OSHA violation that has been listed among the top 10 OSHA violations for a number of years. Typically, this violation occurs when contractors fail to provide their workforce with adequate training, a procedural pamphlet, and display an inability to maintain safety data sheets (SDSs).

    Scaffolds – General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.451) – 3,336 Violations

    Scaffolding-related violations generally include a deficiency of appropriate decking, a lack of fall arrest systems or guardrails, and an inability to ensure that scaffolds are secured on a solid foundation. Contractors in the fields of masonry, siding, and framing commonly fall victim to scaffolding violations.

    Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) – 3,118 Violations

    As a contractor, you’re responsible for minimizing your employees’ exposure to harmful airborne particulates produced during construction such as crystalline silica. Violations are usually assessed to contractors who fail to establish a program, equip their workers with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), or provide medical evaluations.

    Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147) – 2,944 Violations

    Contractors who refuse to establish a standardized energy control procedure may be issued a citation by OSHA. Other instances involve a failure to provide employees with suitable training regarding machine-specific procedures and lockout/tagout devices.

    Read about the other top five OSHA violations in 2018 in part two.

    If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  3. Reasons Why Construction Workers Are Getting Hurt on Your Site

    Construction work is physically demanding. Workers are often required to use powerful machinery, work at high heights, work along roadsides, and work long hours. These and other factors make the profession dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to provide their employees with a safe workplace. If your workers are getting injured on the site, it is time to evaluate why this is occuring to prevent serious injuries in the future.

    If you need legal counsel regarding safety, reach out to an expert OSHA defense attorney for more guidance to ensure you are complying with local, state, and federal safety standards.

    Inadequate Planning

    Many project problems can be traced back to deficiencies in planning which lead to issues such as inaccurate estimates and poor risk management. Planning is not just about creating a construction schedule, but it is also about conducting a risk assessment, developing site safety plans, and establishing contingency plans among other pertinent components of the project. Poor planning can make work productively and safety a challenge. If hazards are not evaluated properly during the planning stages, hazards can be left uncontrolled, which can lead to serious injuries, illnesses, and in some cases death.

    Complacency

    Complacency is never a good thing in any organization, but complacency in construction can be dangerous. It is easy to fall into complacency after performing the same tasks over and over for many years. Once complacency sets in, your workers place themselves and others at risk as they began to take shortcuts to complete their work faster. Deviations in safety-regulated work activities can adversely impact your company in various ways; however, the most concerning include safety accidents on the job site.

    Poor Housekeeping

    No matter how busy your crew is, you cannot afford to be careless about housekeeping. Housekeeping is actually a major problem in some workplaces and increases the likelihood of hazards on your job site. Common injuries that happen on job sites include slips, trips, falls, lacerations, sprains, and strains. Poor housekeeping often is a signal that there are larger safety issues at hand. Read these ongoing housekeeping tips to stay OSHA compliant and keep your employees safe.

    Distractions

    Distractions on the job such as mental distractions, noise levels, clutter, phone use, and inattention can lead to many different injuries. Pressure to meet production goals is also another form of distraction. For instance, if something gets stuck in a machine, a worker may decide to stick their hand or another object in the machine to retrieve the item instead of following important safety protocol. It is important that you identify and minimize distractions to help reduce injuries.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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  4. Practice Caution When Cleaning Up After a Weather Disaster

    According to weather.com, the United States was impacted by six major weather disasters such as severe thunderstorms and winter storms during the first half of 2018. These disasters have cost the country around 6 billion dollars in total. However, companies have their own share of repercussions to deal with when a severe weather disaster hits their region.

    After a weather disaster, companies and their employees are faced with a range of safety and health hazards, but risk can be minimized with knowledge and safe work practices. Our OSHA lawyers are here to share some important preventative measures that companies should take after a weather disaster hits their area.

    Dispatch Qualified Crews

    Weather disaster cleanup and recovery can be dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges employers to take precautions when addressing hazards resulting from storm debris, flooding, power loss, and fallen trees. Your employees should be trained to handle any hazards pertaining to these disasters, including storm cleanup. Employees with the proper training and experience should conduct these activities.

    Potential Hazards

    During recovery, your employees can potentially face the following types of hazards:

    • Slips and falls
    • Falls from heights
    • Falling and flying objects
    • Sharp objects
    • Hazardous driving conditions
    • Electrical hazards from downed power lines or downed objects
    • Burns from fires caused by energized line contact or equipment failure
    • Exhaustion from working extended shifts
    • Heat and dehydration

    Preventative Measures to Combat Hazards

    There are several protective measures employers can take to mitigate hazards when conducting disaster recovery and cleanup.

    • Evaluate the area and take steps to reduce or eliminate exposure to a hazard. For instance, this can be done by providing ventilation for confined spaces or placing barriers around the swing radius of rotating equipment.
    • Assess the stability of structures and walking surfaces and consider the contaminants associated with disaster cleanup.
    • Determine if there has been a release of unknown chemicals and whether or not permits are required for entry into confined spaces.
    • Provide proper fall protection for elevated surfaces and use all equipment such as ladders, chainsaws, and generators properly.
    • Provide specialty personal protective equipment such as eye and face protection, respiratory protection, high-visibility apparel, etc.
    • Employers should ask workers about how they perform the task/operation in order to obtain useful information about the equipment and materials used and the conditions under which the task/operation is performed.
    • Assume all power lines are live and either repair or remove electrical power lines before starting cleanup work.

    To learn more about disaster response, visit the OSHA website. For all your OSHA-related defense and representation needs, reach out to an OSHA lawyer today.

    If you would like to speak with an OSHA lawyer please contact us today.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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