Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2011

What were the primary OSHA safety violations in fiscal year 2011?  Before I get to the list, I’d like to add a little commentary. While driving, I will occasionally listen to talk radio.  Recently, a political commentator was strongly criticizing OSHA and claiming the agency did nothing but create more paperwork.  The commentator even went so far as to say that the agency’s top violations were just paperwork matters.  Perhaps this commentator has never worked around dangerous equipment.  The commentator was completely wrong in his opinions.  Maybe that commentator should be given a history lesson into the dangers of the American workplace before the basic protections of OSHA began.

The truth is that the safety standards most frequently cited by OSHA are standards that protect the lives of workers each and every day.  When companies do not follow these standards, they place their workers at great risk.  Personally, I think OSHA should be given greater resources to insure compliance with basic safety standards.  I do not believe OSHA has enough inspectors to insure adequate safety on job sites.

According to the Safety/NewsAlert site, OSHA’s Deputy Director provided the top ten list at the National Safety Council’s recent annual Congress.  What were the listed violations:

  1. Fall Protection in Construction
  2. Scaffolding in Construction
  3. Hazard Communication
  4. Respiratory Protection
  5. Lockout/Tagout
  6. Electrical Wiring Methods
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks
  8. Ladders in Construction
  9. Electrical General Requirements
  10. Machine Guarding

These are important safety standards that, when ignored, result in severe injury and death in our workplaces.  In the last year, I have tried cases involving one worker who fell from a lift on a construction site in Huntsville and another who was struck by an industrial truck in Decatur. Both companies could have easily protected their workers from those hazards at little or no expense.  In both cases, the lack of safety resulted in workers who are now totally disabled.


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