The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year of 2017; compiled from thousands of inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, thousands of the same on-the-job hazards are cited, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.
More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations, and hospitalizations would drastically decline. Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:
- Fall Protection: Falls, primarily from ladders and roofs, accounted for 350 fatalities in 2015. Any time a worker is at a height of 4 feet or more (30 inches or more in CA), the worker is at risk and needs to be protected.
- Hazard Communication: Employers are required to provide a written Hazard Communication Program, label hazardous chemicals, provide a Safety Data Sheet for each chemical, and document employee training.
- Scaffolding: Primarily applicable to the construction industry.
- Respiratory Protection: Body shop employees need specific training on policies (written) and practices involving the use of respirators during auto refinishing operations. Training on respiratory protection, fit testing, user seal check, and respiratory cleaning procedures are mandatory, and so is the OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. When an employee wears a respirator, even when it is not required under the regulation, information on proper usage, including limitations, must still be provided.
- Lockout/Tagout: Specific procedures and practices safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment. A written program and employee training (annual) is mandatory. Employees working on automobiles must comply by isolating energy to the engine to prevent inadvertent movement during repair or service. A lockout kit including locks should be available.
- Ladders: Limit ladder use to trained and experienced staff only. Lock ladders with a chain to prevent usage by untrained staff.
- Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts): The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts and high number of violations associated with powered industrial truck safety tell us that many workers are not properly trained to safely drive potentially hazardous equipment. OSHA compliance requires training in these specific activities: forklift operations, loading and unloading, and vehicle maintenance. Evaluating the operator every three years is also mandatory.
- Machines: Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards, including anchoring machinery, are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with the machine may injure the operator or others in the vicinity, hazards must be eliminated or controlled. Moving parts in an automobile, grinders, and brake lathes are all subject to this regulation.
- Fall Protection Training Requirements: This is a brand new entry in the Top 10 list. Dealerships do not utilize much fall protection equipment and as such, this one is rarely applicable. Fed-OSHA issued 1,523 fall protection training violations in 2017.
- Electrical Wiring: OSHA standards are designed to protect employees from electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions. Failure to use flexible cords and cables properly was the most common citation. Improper use of extension wires is also covered under this violation. Please note that training for servicing hybrid vehicles should be mandatory. Only trained workers are allowed to work on these vehicles as they are capable of producing an electric shock that may prove fatal.
Celly Services is available to audit your facility for compliance with OSHA standards as applicable to the dealership. Please call us at (562) 704-4000 or email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOWNLOAD: December 2017 Newsletter