Accidents and injuries, including fatal ones, happen far too often in the workplace. Nationally, a worker is injured on the job every 7 seconds, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). That adds up to 12,300 injuries a day and a whopping 4.5 million a year. In 2017, there were 534 workplace-related fatalities in Texas and 5,147 deaths nationwide, data from the Texas Department of Insurance shows.
What are the most common workplace safety violations that lead to accidents, injuries, and worse? Here are seven of the most often seen hazards as identified by NSC safety auditors and reported in the organization’s Safety & Health Magazine:
Working at heights. More than 380 construction workers fell to their death in 2017. This figure is 39% of the total deaths in construction for that year. Violations of ladder and scaffolding use standards, poor training and procedures for working at heights, and improper use of fall-protection gear or wearing improperly fitting gear were common violations.
Poor housekeeping. Clutter that blocks or impedes movement in aisles and through emergency and fire exits contributes to injuries each year. Standing water and slick surfaces also commonly cause slips, trips, and falls.
Extension cords. The overuse of electrical extension cords on workplace floors, including daisy-chaining them together, is a frequently seen safety issue. Cords can be a tripping hazard, can cause electrical shocks if they are damaged, and are also a potential fire hazard.
Forklifts. When workers feel pressured to get things done quickly, they may take shortcuts, leading to safety violations and accidents. Shortcuts include driving too quickly, distracted driving, and carrying loads that are too heavy.
Lockout/tagout. Lockout/tagout violations are often caused by rushing to finish work, unfamiliarity with equipment, or simply failing to follow proper procedures due to complacency with the work. Faulty equipment can also lead to injuries.
Chemicals. Storing too many chemicals and not disposing of expired chemicals is a common violation seen by NSC inspectors. Not having an inventory system in place to control chemical use and poor labeling of chemicals also creates hazards.
Confined spaces. Risks involved in entering confined spaces include suffocation due to insufficient oxygen, drowning, and exposure to toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. Risk assessments must be performed to ensure safety before workers enter confined spaces.
OSHA Safety Violation List
In addition to the NSC’s violation reporting, OSHA recently released its list of the top 10 most cited workplace safety violations for 2018. Like the NSC’s audit, safety violations related to working at heights was No. 1. Here is the complete list, in order, with violation numbers for the year:
- Fall protection (7,216)
- Hazard communication (4,537)
- Scaffolding (3,319)
- Respiratory protection (3,112)
- Lockout/tagout (2,923)
- Ladders (2,780)
- Powered industrial trucks (2,281)
- Fall protection training requirements (1,978)
- Machine guarding (1,969)
- Eye and face protection (1,528).
As you can see, dangers in the workplace are very real. Should you be the victim of a workplace accident or other accident, the experienced attorneys at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant are here to help. Call us at 1 (800) 444-5000 or contact us through our online form.