OSHA management is a complicated matter, one that requires adherence to the body's rules to better ensure the safety and reliability of business practices. New rules are continuously being introduced, which only makes it more pressing for businesses to remain compliant.
OSHA violations are serious business, Manufacturing.net reported. The average penalty per violation can cost businesses around $2,000. While that by itself is already harmful, OSHA inspections find an average of 3.1 violations per inspection, 81 percent of which fall under categories that result in higher fines. However, of OSHA's 63 territories and states that are covered, 25 allow individual locations to submit personal safety plans instead of federal ones. Still, though, the requirements of these standards are high.
Additionally, businesses that are concerned about OSHA violations should monitor the 10 biggest problems they witnessed in 2014 and keep tabs on them over time. Better preventing these issues can cause long-term improvements as long as the correct steps are taken to protect workers.
Most pressing violations
Manufacturing.net found that electrical systems were the 10th most frequent site of violations, which can range from not having enough space in front of electrical cabinets to not using the right kind of temporary electrical wires in the right instances. To prevent these issues, workers should always follow factory instructions during installment procedures.
The ninth most cited issue was that of machine guarding. The 2,520 violations found are important for two reasons – not only do they create major workplace hazards and machine-related injuries, but the potential injuries are easily preventable. Electrical wiring was found to have just over 2,900 violations, which is a pressing concern because electrical shocks can easily cause fatalities, falls or leave workers vulnerable in dangerous surroundings. Just as problematic were ladders, which saw just under 3,000 violations in the calendar year. The different shapes, sizes and materials ladders are made out of can all cause new problems.
As the violations grew in number, they also grew in importance. Lockout/tagout procedures were cited 3,117 times last year, and ignoring them or avoiding them can easily cause worker injuries and deaths. Just as important are powered industrial trucks, like forklifts and handtrucks, which can cause impalement or other serious injury.
The four most common issues in the marketplace were seen in locations that could easily cause fatalities or deaths. Respiratory protection, scaffolding issues, hazard communication and fall protections were all ignored all too often in the workplace, and all of these problems have the potential to cause severe injuries. It's up to specific locations to ensure they follow all necessary procedures for better protection.
Whistleblower rules strengthened
One bright spot for OSHA violations could be on the way, Whistleblower Defense reported. Should workers see problems while on the job and report them, a new whistleblower procedure protects them from experiencing issues. The statute of limitations for filing complaints was increased from three to six months while the definition of "covered employers" was expanded to meet new needs.
Now, when filing a complaint against a business and experiencing potential adverse reactions, an employee can take up to six months to show that their activity was against a potentially dangerous incident. This is said to later allow for better protections against that worker. If any violations of policy are found in this light, the worker will be allowed to recover more of their rights than initially allowed, including potential reinstatement of their position if fired.
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