Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2018

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 2018; compiled from thousands of inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. For the fiscal year (FY) of 2017, Federal OSHA and States with their own OSHA plans completed close to 76,000 workplace safety inspections.

The top 10 violations accounted for an estimated total of 32,266 violations, based on preliminary data for FY 2018 as noted by OSHA’s Deputy Director of the Directorate of Enforcement Programs. 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.

In 2016, 5,190 workers were killed on the job (3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) — on average, more than 99 a week or more than 14 deaths every day bls.gov. This is 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:

  1. Fall Protection – 7,720 violations: Falls, primarily from ladders and roofs, accounted for 384 fatalities in 2016. 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.
  2. Hazard Communication – 4,552 violations: 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.
  3. Scaffolding – 3,336 violations: Primarily applicable to the construction industry.
  4. Respiratory Protection – 3,118 violations: 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.
  5. Lockout/Tagout – 2,944 violations: Specific procedures and practices safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment. A written program and employee training is mandatory (annually). 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.
  6. Ladders – 2,812 violations: Limit ladder use to trained and experienced staff only. Lock ladders with a chain to prevent usage by untrained staff.
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) – 2,294 violations: 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 an operator every three years is also mandatory.
  8. Fall Protection Training Requirements – 1,982 violations: This moved up a notch from the 2017 number 9 spot. Dealerships watch out for employees working on parts second floor while loading or unloading parts.
  9. Machine Guarding – 1,972 violations: 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 automobiles, grinders, and brake lathes are all subject to this regulation.
  10. Eye & Face Protection – 1,536 violations: A brand new entry to the top 10 list. Essentially reinforce your Person protective Equipment (PPE) policy and ensure all your employee wear eye and face protection as necessary.

 

CAL/OSHA (DOSH): Certain notable violations for general industry in California for 2010-2016 can be found here. DOSH proposed total penalties of $59 million in 2017 rising from $54.5 million in 2016.

OSHA PENALTIES

Federal OSHA Penalties: OSHA penalties which had not earlier kept up with inflation are now being adjusted with rate of inflation. The adjusted penalties for 2018 are as follows:

Type of Violation Penalty
 

General

 

$750 per violation

 

Serious

 

$12,934 per violation

 

Failure to Abate

 

$12,934 per day beyond abatement date

 

Willful or Repeated

 

$129,336 per violation

 

Criminal

(willful violation causes employee death)

 

$250,000 for individual

6 months prison

$500,000 for corporation

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 sam@cellyservices.com.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this newsletter are merely for informational purposes only and not to be considered as legal advice. Employers must consult their lawyer for legal matters and safety consultants for matters related to safety. The article was authored by Sam Celly of Celly Services, Inc. who has been helping automobile dealers comply with EPA & OSHA regulations since 1987. Sam received his BE (1984) and MS (1986) in Chemical Engineering followed by a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law (1997). Our newsletters can be accessed at http://www.epaoshablog.com. Your comments/questions are always welcome. Please send them to sam@cellyservices.com.

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News & Views, July 2017

HFO-1234yf REFRIGERANT IS A FLAMMABLE GAS

Automobiles have been using refrigerant gases in their AC systems for decades.  The refrigerant gases have generally been inert gases, such as Freon-12 and R-134.  Recently, many auto manufacturers have started to use HFO-1234yf as the refrigerant gas in their AC systems.  This gas is expensive, about $80/lb., and the recycling machine costs another $5000.  The bigger issue is that it is a flammable gas.  Flammable gases pose special hazards and dealers should take steps to address this concern.

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Changes to CA Environmental Regulations & OSHA Penalties, December 2015

CAL-EPA REGULATIONS EFFECTIVE 1/1/16

90-Day Storage Limit:  Automobile dealerships generating more than 1,000 kg of hazardous waste per month must  dispose of hazardous waste within 90 days (otherwise the facility must obtain a storage permit, an arduous process).  Almost all dealerships generate more than 1,000 kg (about 300 gallons) of used oil and used coolant per month and hence, must limit storage to 90 days.  In the past, local enforcement agencies excluded used oil from these calculations so all dealers fell below the 1,000 kg/mo. level.  The new law, SB 612, clarifies the fact that all hazardous waste generated at the facility are counted towards the 1,000 kg/mo. calculation.  For facilities generating less than 1,000 kg/mo. of hazardous waste (Federal Term: Small Quantity Generator), the maximum accumulation time is 180 days or 270 days if the waste must be transported more than 200 miles for treatment and disposal.

In summary, each hazardous waste storage container must have a proper date of accumulation marked on each container along with EPA required waste labeling and secondary containment requirements.  The waste must be disposed of within 90 days of the start date.  Almost all facilities have used oil pickup on a 30-day or more frequent cycle.  However, other smaller waste streams, such as used coolant or contaminated fuel, are not on the radar screen.  Dealers must ensure that these wastes are now on a 90-day pickup cycle through a licensed and registered hazardous waste hauler.  Contact your hauler to set up a required pickup schedule immediately.

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Investigate Accidents, Log 300, Workers’ Compensation, etc., April 2002

Investigate Accidents:  Save Money & Fight Fraud

A prompt, accurate and thoughtful accident investigation can, simply stated, save money and fight fraud.  First, it is state law that mandates that an employer investigate each accident and take corrective measures to prevent repetition of accidents.  Secondly, a written investigation report can be reviewed by senior management or the safety committee to undertake steps that would prevent such accidents in the future.  Last and not the least, such reports can be useful ammo in fighting the 3F–Fictitious, Fraudulent or Frivolous claims.  In summary, as an employer, it is your duty to provide a safe workplace and also to ensure that any worker’s compensation claim is legitimate and preventable in the future.

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Civil & Criminal Penalties, First-Aid, Penalties, etc., November 1999

Civil & Criminal Penalties Increased for OSHA Violations

On October 5, 1999, Governor Davis signed into law a bill which increases the civil and criminal penalties for willful, serious and repeat violations of occupational safety and health (Cal-OSHA) standards.  The law goes into effect on January 1, 2000, which gives the district attorneys more flexibility to prosecute as either a misdemeanor or a felony, willful violations of safety standards which result in a death or permanent/prolonged impairment.

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