On the one hand, that's only fair. On-the-job injuries happen, and companies are responsible for compensating. No one should argue that.
What you could argue is the number of accidents that could be prevented. The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA)
monitors the safety practices of businesses. When they find that a company is violating policy, OSHA issues a citation. Each year OSHA publishes a list of the Top Ten Safety Violations and, amazingly, the list doesn't seem to change much from year to year. You can even put the violations into three major injury classifications.
If you want to protect your employees from workplace dangers and protect your business from expensive OSHA citations, take a survey of these three employee safety categories.
1) Slips, Trips, and Falls
This category includes everything from an employee slipping
on a slick floor and throwing out her back to construction workers falling off a high-rise job site and everything in between. The most common citations are for these four violations.
- Proper Fall Protection for Construction Workers - A construction worker who is elevated 6 feet or more above the next level must have some form of fall protection. The fall protection could be a harness or even a railing. However, all too often, workers are at risk.
- Proper Training in Use of Fall Protection Equipment and Procedures - What good is safety precautions if your employees are not trained in the correct way to use them?
- Safe Use of Ladder - You see it with weekend handymen at home, and you see it in the workplace as well. People use ladders that are in disrepair and are unsafe. Or, they may use a perfectly good ladder, but in an unsafe manner. It's all too common, but it shouldn't be.
- Safe Use of Scaffolding- Scaffolding is a significant part of construction and painting projects. But, when it is not put together properly or is in poor shape with gaps or holes in the flooring, whoever climbs upon it is in grave danger.
2) Machine Injuries
It's 2020, and we use machines for just about everything these days. They make our jobs easier or, in some cases, they make our jobs possible. But, machines come with moving parts, electricity, and inherent safety issues. These are the three most common violations that OSHA sees and issues citations for when it comes to machinery.
- Industrial Trucks and Forklifts - Trucks and forklifts move stuff for us. They are a standard part of many workplaces, but they're big, heavy, and dangerous. Proper safety measures for loading docks, storerooms, and other vehicle-related violations are essential for any workplace where they are present.
- Safety Guards On Machines - Think of your lawnmower. Do you know how it has that guard in place to keep the cuttings from flying back at your feet? Now, imagine all of the machines' moving and dangerous parts in a standard workplace, whether it's a production plant or a retail store's back room. Simply put, if it's dangerous, there should be a guard in place.
- Preventing Machine Activation During Maintenance - When someone is working on a machine, even if it's just a two-minute light bulb change, it's essential to lock that machine down, so no one starts it up during the maintenance. There are specific procedures for this, and OSHA knows what they are. Do you?
3) Personal Protection
Sometimes protecting employees from their work environment means providing them with safety equipment to wear, or even the proper knowledge of what they are working with. These three violations continually pop up on OSHA's list.
- Providing Eye and Face Protection - Many workplace areas need eye or face protection due to the possibility of flying objects, hazardous gasses, or chemicals. Not only should the company provide these things, but it should also enforce their use in the designated areas.
- Providing Respiratory Protection - Some jobs require working around hazardous gasses, dust particles, or even areas of low-oxygen. It's crucial that the employer provide the proper form of respiratory protection, be it a simple face mask or a full oxygen tank, to keep employees safe. Otherwise, lung damage, cancer, or death could occur.
- Proper Labelling of Chemicals - Many chemicals can be hazardous to touch or breathe in. The proper labeling of chemicals and safety information sheets provide workers with the knowledge of how to handle the chemicals properly and safely.
Don't Let Your Business Be On That List
Workplace safety is a constant concern (and it should be). The fact of the matter is those workplace accidents have an enormous effect on a business. It's not only about money, but employee morale and security. When an employer takes safety seriously, it shows both employees and the community that it values its people.
The OSHA Top Ten Violations list isn't a scare sheet. It's a helpful reminder that these are the regulations that are most frequently overlooked and can put employees in danger. Now is a good time to survey your workplace and make sure that you don't contribute to next year's top ten list.