Here at CP Lab Safety, we preach safety all day, every day. We believe safety in the workplace should never be taken lightly, and that there is always room for improvement. We’ve taken OSHA’s top 10 safety violations of 2021 and turned them into a handy list of easily palatable new year’s resolutions. Make safety a priority this year, and it will make a positive difference in your company. Doing small things like taking a few extra hours each year for safety training can make a huge difference and will literally save lives. Here are your resolutions (we hope) to keep your workers safe throughout 2022!
1. Fall Prevention – Never work on a surface 6 feet or higher without guardrails or safety nets, plus personal protection.
Fall prevention has been on the top of list for several years now, with a total of 5,295 violations in 2021, by far the highest on the list. It continues to be the top cause of injuries and death among construction and warehouse workers. It is vital to invest in personal protective equipment, and to implement guard rails and safety nets. Make it a priority this year to prevent unnecessary falls on the job by using proper signage, implementing training, and strictly enforcing the use of personal protection.
2. Respiratory Protection – Always provide every employee with the proper respirators when working in dusty, fumy, or toxic conditions. Be mindful of the maintenance of respiratory protection programs.
Respiratory protection violations were totaled at 2,527 for 2021. Make sure you’re knowledgeable in the different kinds of respirators as defined by OSHA. You can find the list here: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134
Read up on the respiratory protection program and be sure you are aware of maintenance requirements. Not using properly maintained respirators can have long term health effects on workers.
3. Use and maintain ladders properly. Be sure you are using the right types of ladders with the appropriate weight capacities.
This one went up by two places between 2020 and 2021. It’s now 3 rd place in violations, a total of 2,026 for 2021. It’s easy to get lazy with ladders, and it’s also easy to get hurt. OSHA has extremely detailed definitions of proper ladders to use and how to do so, found here: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1926/1926.1053
Ladders are a vital tool, but when used inappropriately are extremely dangerous. Make sure your employees are educated on everything OSHA has defined as safe ladder usage.
4. Scaffolding – Keep scaffolding well maintained and do not exceed the intended load amount.
Scaffolding safety is a big one. There were 1,948 scaffolding violations this year. Workers falling from the great heights that scaffolding is used for is obviously often fatal. It is absolutely essential that scaffolding is well maintained and that workers are well trained on proper usage. Improper usage often includes too much weight on the scaffolding, so please do not go over the weight capacity.
5. Hazard communication – Make sure information about hazardous materials is readily available to workers at any given time.
It’s extremely important that workers who are handling hazardous materials and chemicals understand proper handling and understand the risks involved. Proper labelling and safety data sheets as well as training workers on how to properly interpret this information cannot be underestimated. There were 1,947 violations in this department for 2021.
6. Lockout/tagout - Implement and use a strict energy control program.
Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out, every single time. Ensure new or overhauled equipment is capable of being locked out. Enforce effective tagout program if equipment is not capable of being locked out. With 1,698 violations in 2021, you can avoid these dangerous equipment issues with some extra training.
7. Fall protection training – This is the root cause of many fall safety issues. Spend the extra time this year to ensure proper training in this area.
If you haven’t already implemented a fall protection training program, get it done, and make sure it’s maintained. Lack of training in this department has resulted in 1,666 violations this year. You can find a downloadable fall protection training guidebook straight from OSHA here: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA3666.pdf
8. Eye and face protection – Don’t let workers get away with not using proper eye and face protection.
Eyes and faces are not replaceable, so please enforce this rule which had 1,452 violations this year. When workers are busy and on the move, they can easily forget to put on their face and eye protection, or just don’t want to bother looking for it. Invest in extra facial and eye protection, and always keep backups handy.
9. Powered Industrial Trucks – Don’t let uncertified employees drive forklifts, make sure they’re only used for their intended purpose.
Many of the 1,420 violations for powered industrial trucks this year were due to uncertified drivers. Either make the extra investment to certify more workers or implement zero tolerance policies on uncertified forklift drivers. There are many completely avoidable accidents in this department.
10. Machine guarding – Leave no machine without safeguards this year.
Injuries and fatalities from machine parts are an easily avoidable problem. Not having proper guards resulted in 1,113 violations this year. Handling machinery is a dangerous job, but it is much less so if you follow OSHA protocols.
Remember, OSHA is here to improve our working lives. They help us prevent countless deaths and injuries on the job every year and set training protocols which can help every single worker reduce the risk of getting hurt on the job and missing out on work. Since OSHA was founded in 1971, worker injuries and illnesses are down from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers to 3.3 per 100. That is nothing to scoff at, however safety measures are only effective when practiced daily. If you aren’t implementing strict safety programs, regular safety meetings and providing proper equipment, consider this.
Investing in safety saves companies a lot of money. The average return on investment with safety training programs and equipment is between $4 and $6 for every dollar invested. Keeping production at its peak is everything, and avoiding accidents that cause employees to miss work will help you do just that. Make these top 10 violations into your new year’s resolutions and you’ll have higher production through the year!