OSHA's Greatest Hits: Top 10 Citations in 2009
OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards for fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009) was released to the National Safety Council during its annual Congress and Expo.
The results did not show a great deal of change from the previous year. The same 10 violations areas are in the top ten and the top three are the same as previous years. Overall violations were up almost 30 percent from fiscal year 2008, and 81 percent of the violations were either serious or willful violations.
1. Scaffolding – 9,093 violations
Scaffold accidents most often result from the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.
2. Fall Protection – 6,771 violations
Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction.
3. Hazard Communication – 6,378 violations
Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers.
4. Respiratory Protection – 3,803 violations
Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases or death.
5. Lockout-Tag out – 3,321 violations
"Lockout-Tag out” refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
6. Electrical (Wiring) – 3,079 violations
Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
7. Ladders – 3,072 violations
Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The US Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma.
8. Powered Industrial Trucks – 2,993 violations
Each year, tens of thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks (PIT), or forklifts, occur in US workplaces. Many employees are injured when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks, lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer, they are struck by a lift truck, or when they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.
9. Electrical – 2,556 violations
Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
10. Machine Guarding – 2,364 violations
Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injures the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.
The following are the standards for which OSHA assessed the highest penalties in fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009):
- Fall protection, construction
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general
- Excavations, requirements for protective systems, construction
- Machines, general requirements, general industry
- General duty clause
- Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals
- Ladders, construction
- Powered industrial trucks, general
- Aerial lifts