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The Top OSHA Violations of 2019

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on January 28, 2020 at 10:07 AM

It’s a brand new year, a new decade, and a fresh opportunity to learn from the safety errors of last year.

Unfortunately, the mistakes of the past have a way of repeating themselves. The National Safety Council and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced their preliminary list of the top OSHA violations of 2019, and while the order may have shifted, many of the top violations are repeat offenders from previous years.

Here’s a look at the most frequent violations of 2019 and what your safety team can learn from them.

1. Fall Protection

By far the most frequent citation was fall protection in the construction industry (standard 29 CFR 1926.501) with 6,010 violations, almost 3,000 more than the next most frequent violation.

Fall protection in construction is a usual suspect in safety violations. In fact, this is its ninth consecutive year as OSHA’s most frequently cited violation.

Most of the citations were issued to roofing contractors, masonry contractors, framing contractors, and new single-family housing construction contractors. It should come as no surprise that the most common violations include failure to provide fall protection near unprotected sides of roofs and on steep- and low-slope roofs.

2. Hazard Communication

Hazard communication (29 CFR 1910.1200), or the communication of chemical hazards and protective measures, is the second most common violation with 3,671 cited violations in 2019. It’s also a frequent flier on this list and has held onto the number two spot for many years.

Auto repair shops and painting contractors were the most frequently cited, typically for a lack of a written program, failure to develop or maintain safety data sheets, and inadequate EHS-related training.

3. Scaffolding

Given that one in five worker deaths annually occur in the construction industry, it should be little surprise that multiple construction standards feature in this list. Scaffolding general requirements for construction (29 CFR 1926.451) comes in third on OSHA’s list of violations with 2,813 violations in 2019.

Roofing, siding, masonry, and framing contractors were among the most commonly cited, typically for failure to provide required guardrails, improper decking, and failure to ensure that supported scaffolds are adequately supported.

4. Lockout/Tagout

One of the biggest changes to OSHA’s list is the number four spot. Lockout/tagout (29 CFR 1910.147) moved up to number four after staying at number five in 2018, with 2,606 violations in 2019.

Unfortunately, many employers were cited for significant issues with their lockout/tagout programs–namely, the failure to establish an energy control procedure in the first place. Other employers were cited for failing to adequately train employees, failing to use lockout/tagout equipment, and failing to conduct periodic safety evaluations to ensure compliance.

Don’t Repeat the Biggest OSHA Violations of 2019

If we can learn anything from the biggest OSHA violations of 2019, it’s that we failed to learn from the biggest violations of 2018. And we think it’s time for safety teams to change the status quo and do better for their workforce.

If you agree that it’s time to make a change, we’re here to change the way you think about compliance. Our EHS software makes it easy for you to know where you stand on compliance, where you’re falling short, and what you could do better, all in one easy-to-use system.

If you’re ready to change the way your team approaches safety in 2020, get in touch today to learn how we can be your solution.

Topics: OSHA, Regulatory Information, Workplace Health and Safety, Compliance, Job Safety Analysis, Incident Management, Safety Management, Building Materials & Construction, Lockout/Tagout

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