Does Your Workplace Violate One of OSHA’s Top Ten Most-Cited Standards?

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When some people think of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), they think of a lot of rules and recordkeeping requirements. But those rules have their basis in preventing on-the-job construction injuries, and OSHA's role is to see that those injuries are not repeated due to carelessness.

To that end, OSHA publishes a "Top Ten" list of the most common workplace-safety violations. The following is an overview of the ten areas that OSHA says are the subject of the most violations:

  1. Scaffolding: OSHA rules cover construction and maintenance of scaffolds, including the loads that they can handle.
  2. Fall Protection: Rules generally govern situations in which someone could fall more than six feet, calling for guardrails, barricades, safety nets or personal fall-arrest systems.
  3. Hazard Communication: Rules covers toxic and hazardous substances as well as information printed on material safety data sheets.
  4. Respiratory Protection: Rules stipulate that respirators must be provided to employees when necessary to protect against breathing in hazardous airborne substances.
  5. Ladders: Like the scaffold requirements, rules specify acceptable loads for ladders and other important safety measures.
  6. Lockout and Tagout: Rules govern how equipment must be properly shut down, labeled and secured before maintenance or decommissioning and ensure that it is not turned on unexpectedly while being serviced, dismantled or otherwise worked on.
  7. Electrical: wiring methods, components and equipment: Rules specifically target proper wiring and the use of the correct electrical components.
  8. Powered Industrial Trucks: Rules cover forklifts and similar industrial vehicles.
  9. Electrical systems design: Rules dictate the proper location, installation and mounting of electrical equipment as well as warning signage.
  10. Machine Guarding: Rules govern moving parts and other hazardous equipment that must have barriers and safeguards to ensure they do not crush or amputate body parts or cause burns or blindness.

When these regulations are not followed and injuries result, the people hurt may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. That compensation may be obtained through workers' compensation, or if the injury was caused by negligence on the part of the employing company (and a record of OSHA violations could help demonstrate this), it could mean that the worker is entitled to other forms of legal compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine what type of compensation may be available for any on-the-job injury.

If you have seen dangerous conditions at work that could be a violation of these or other OSHA regulations, talk to the person in charge of OSHA compliance at your job. If you have been injured at a construction site or other workplace, contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer to discuss any legal claims you may have.