What are some examples of OSHA violations?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces regulations designed to protect employees through safe working conditions. Violating the regulations can result in harm to employees or even fatalities, as well as risking significant penalties for business owners. In this article, we discuss some common examples of OSHA violations which can be learnt from.

Electrical violations

Electrical violations are one of the most common OSHA violations found within workplaces, often from issues such as exposed wiring or unguarded fluorescent lighting. An example incident saw a company face significant penalties following an employee who suffered with burns after using faulty equipment at work. Businesses are responsible for carrying out frequent maintenance on their equipment and implementing lockout/tagout procedures to ensure accidents are prevented. By regularly undergoing inspections and carrying out any necessary repairs, the risk of injury or damage to assets is minimized significantly.

Height violations

When an employer fails to provide the appropriate protection measures for employees working at heights, it can result in an OSHA violation. Depending on the nature of the site, fall protection measures may include guardrails, safety nets, or personal harnesses, to prevent injury to workers in the event of an accident. A construction company has previously faced legal issues following a worker falling from a roof and injuring themself when working without a harness or guardrail. A key takeaway from this incident is that it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that sufficient equipment should not just be provided, but enforced.

Guarding violations

Employers are responsible for conducting thorough assessments of all machinery to identify whether they require safeguards to protect against potential hazards. In 2017, a metal fabrication company was fined by OSHA after a worker was seriously injured when their arm became crushed in an unguarded machine. To effectively guard machinery and prevent similar incidents from occurring, a business should implement safeguards such as barriers, covers, interlocks, or emergency stop buttons to keep employees out of reach of moving machinery mechanisms.

Respiratory violations

To protect employees from harmful airborne contaminants, respiratory protection should be provided to all employees where needed. It is the responsibility of the employer to conduct fit tests and supply the appropriate respiratory protection equipment, training employees on the correct use and ensuring compliance. An example of a violation was a facility which used a large array of chemicals, thus exposing employees to airborne health risks, but failed to produce sufficient respiratory protection.

Hazard communication violations

Employers have a duty to provide labeling that visually communicates any key information or warning about hazardous materials within the workplace. If an employer fails to properly label chemical products, OSHA can penalize the business for inadequate labeling and training. To avoid these safety issues, employers should have a hazard communication system in place which ensures that sufficient labeling, training, and use of safety data sheets is followed.


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