Common OSHA Violations in the Workplace

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, issued more citations last year for fall protection than for any other workplace safety violation, according to data released in November. During the 2011 fiscal year, which ended on September 30th, OSHA cited 7,139 violations of federal regulations that require employers to protect workers from the risk of falls.

Preventable Accidents Put Workers at Risk

OSHA's interest in preventing workplace falls is well justified: Last year, 260 workers died as a result of falls, and over 200,000 more were injured. Often, preventing fall-related work injuries can be as simple as covering an open hole or removing debris from a walking surface. In other cases, guard rails, restraint systems or safety nets may be necessary to keep workers safe.

While fall protection issues were the number one source of OSHA citations, scaffolding safety was a close second with 7,069 violations cited last year. Scaffolding injuries frequently occur as a result of improperly assembled or poorly placed scaffolds. According to OSHA estimates, scaffolding accidents result in approximately 50 deaths, 4,500 injuries and $90 million in lost work days each year.

Training and Communication Are Crucial to Workplace Safety

In addition to falls and scaffolding, hazard communication violations are another common source of OSHA citations. These violations often occur when employers fail to inform workers of hazards in the workplace or provide inadequate training for working safely in the presence of hazards.

Respiratory protection and electrical safety are two additional areas of major concern for OSHA. The agency issues thousands of citations each year to employers that put workers at risk by failing to provide functional respirators and ensure that they are used properly. OSHA cites a similar number of violations for failure to protect workers from the risks associated with electrical current, including shocks, electrocution, fires and explosions.

If You Have Suffered an Injury at Work

In many cases, workers injured on the job are eligible to receive workers compensation benefits. If you or someone close to you has suffered a workplace injury, a qualified workers compensation lawyer can talk with you about the specific circumstances of your injury and help you explore the legal options that may be available to you.