Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2022 and How to Avoid Them
Blog | January 24th, 2023

Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2022 and How to Avoid Them

Recently, the National Safety Council, America’s more than a century-old nonprofit safety advocate, shared OSHA’s Top 10 Workplace Safety Violations of 2022.

Fall Protection continued to remain the highest for the 12th consecutive year at 5,980 cases while hazard communication moved up from 5th rank in 2021 to 2nd in 2022.

In this blog, we dive deep into the top 10 regulatory violations and offer suggestions or safety control measures to minimize or eliminate these safety risks.

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Violation #1: Fall Protection – General Requirements

This was the topmost for the 12th consecutive year. There were a total of 5,980 violations of Standard 1926.501, up from 5,271 violations in 2021. This is meant for horizontal or vertical walking-working surfaces without protected sides or an edge above 6 feet.

The standard defines how to ensure employee safety on such surfaces, appropriate systems, proper construction, and installation of safety systems with proper supervision to prevent falls.

Safety Tip: Design an upgraded safety inspections workflow to spot fall-related risks and plan mitigative measures accordingly. Increase awareness of this risk through enhanced training.

Violation #2: Hazard Communication

There were a total of 2,682 violations of Standard 1910.1200, as against 1,939 violations in 2021 when this ranked fifth. This standard deals with hazards related to chemicals produced in the workplace and brought in as input material. Communication of chemical hazards to workers or contractors is also governed by this standard.

Safety Tip: A next-generation EHS solution will help streamline the hazard communication (or HazCom) workflow. By automating the process of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) management, better training, and labeling compliance, the whole process becomes more efficient.

Violation #3: Ladders

A total of 2,471 violations were identified in 2022 (in 2021 it was at 2,018 violations, ranking in the 3rd spot as well). The general requirements for all ladders are covered under Standard 1926.1053 and include the use of portable ladders, ensuring that the ladders are used for the purpose they were designed for. It also details how not to use the top step of the ladder, ensuring a portable ladder is not defective, and also cautions against using non-self-supporting ladders.

Safety Tip: Conduct safety inspections to spot gaps in safety when it comes to ladders. Capture data from safety observations/past incidents that were reported. Create smart, visual posters to increase awareness of ladder safety and how falls happen. These nudges go a long way in avoiding mishaps.

Violation #4: Respiratory Protection

This is covered under Standard 1910.134. At 2,430 violations, it moved down from rank 2 in 2021 with 2,521 violations to rank 4 in 2022. This standard covers the establishment and maintenance of a respiratory protection program. It covers the following:

  • Program administration
  • Worksite-specific procedures
  • Respirator selection
  • Employee training
  • Fit testing
  • Medical evaluation
  • Respirator use
  • Respirator cleaning, maintenance, and repair

Safety Tip: Use a solution like CQ EHS, to automate the entire workflow for the respiratory protection program. Document SOPs in the Document Management System, schedule activities, and conduct management reviews powered by automation.

Violation #5: Scaffolding

Covered under Standard 1926.451, a total of 2,285 violations were reported, up from 1,943 in 2021. In addition to the general safety requirements for scaffolding, it also specifies the need for the scaffolding to be designed by a qualified person and for construction and loading to conform to the design. This is to prevent construction workers from falls and falling objects when working on or near the scaffolding 10 feet high or higher.

Safety Tip: Especially relevant in the construction industry, automation of safety observations, near-misses, and incidents are critical to avoid repeat mistakes. Training, inspections, and documented SOPs are critical to avoid these mishaps.

Violation #6: Lockout/Tagout

There were 2,175 violations of Standard 1910.147, as against 1,670 in 2021. The standard defines the minimum performance requirements for the control of hazardous energy when servicing and maintaining machines and equipment.

Safety Tip: Using an automated process for a permit to work (PTW) management is critical to avoid mishaps related to hazardous energy. A well-designed PTW workflow will ensure lockout/tagout procedures are followed before scheduled maintenance activities by certified/approved professionals.

Violation #7: Powered Industrial Trucks

The violation of Standard 1910.178 moved up from rank 9 to 7, from 1,404 violations in 2021 to 1,922 in 2022. Under this standard, the design, maintenance, and operation of powered industrial trucks such as forklifts and motorized hand trucks are covered. Operator training requirements are also covered in this standard.

Safety Tip: Ensure there’s a process in place to ensure only trained/licensed personnel are allowed to operate these trucks or forklifts. Issue a PTW if necessary and ensure you conduct periodic audits and inspections to proactively identify risks associated with these industrial trucks.

Violation #8: Fall Protection – Training Requirements

From 1,660 in 2021, the number of violations of Standard 1926.503 went up to 1,778 in 2022. It ensures that employers provide employees with fall protection training to identify potential hazards. A duly signed certificate must be handed to the employees upon receiving training through a competent person. Retraining is also essential based on need.

Safety Tip: This one should be simple! Use an automated training management solution to make sure all relevant employees have completed this training.

To know more about CQ’s EHS Training Management Solution visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/lp/training-management/

Violation #9: Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection

Standard 1926.102 requires employers to protect employees from the eye or face hazards, such as flying particles and chemical gases or vapors, by providing them with appropriate personal protective equipment. 1,582 violations were reported in 2022 as against 1,451 violations in 2021.

Safety Tip: Proactively identify which personnel and processes need protective equipment for eye/face protection. Ensure there’s enough stock of protective equipment on all sites.

Violation #10: Machine Guarding

Covered under Standard 1910.212, it ensures the protection of operators using the machine by guarding the machinery to avoid injuries or death at the point of operation due to ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks. A total of 1,488 violations were reported as against 1,105 in 2021.

Safety Tip: Ensure people who are going to operate a machine have the necessary expertise, pre-requisite skills, and safety training done. Capture gaps through periodic inspections. Schedule focused machine/equipment inspections to proactively identify violations and plan control measures accordingly.

Many times, these violations occur because compliance can be tedious and takes up resources. This can be draining on small and medium enterprises, who may be firefighting rather than proactively ensuring compliance.

Even for large organizations, the nitty-gritty of becoming compliant with standards can be difficult. With multi-site operations, the problem gets compounded.

A cloud-based safety management system can help reduce the compliance burden and improve workplace safety. Through checklists and automated workflows, well-designed safety audits, and inspections businesses can minimize violations and improve compliance.

The cloud-based ComplianceQuest EHS solution, for instance, is aligned with OSHA for workplace safety. Therefore, implementing it can reduce the need for human intervention, and improve compliance, documentation, training, and change management. A comprehensive suite of checklists also adds to safety assurance, thereby addressing safety hazards more effectively and proactively.

To know more, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/lp/ehs/

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