Each year OSHA publishes its list of the 10 most frequently cited standards. The most current list follows. Do these standards apply to your company? If they do, are you meeting OSHA requirements? Are you effectively managing these programs in order to foster a safe and healthful workplace?
1. Fall Protection (Construction)
2. Hazard Communication
3. Scaffolding (Construction)
4. Respiratory Protection
5. Electrical: wiring
6. Powered Industrial Trucks
7. Ladders (Construction)
8. Lock-out Tagout
9. Electrical: systems design
10. Machine Guarding
It's unfortunately no big surprise that 3 of the 10 standards - Fall Protection, Scaffolding, and Ladders - are associated with the construction industry. Data from The Bureau of Labor and Statistics show that the number of construction-related deaths exceeds every other industry group. Not only do 150 to 200 construction workers fall to their deaths every year but approximately 100,000 others are injured as the result of a fall. Compliance with the Fall Protection, Scaffolding, and Ladder Standards greatly reduce the risk of construction injuries and deaths.
The Electrical Wiring and System Design Standards were revised in 2007. Some of the requirements don't apply to every electrical installation. Rather, they are based on when the installation was built or last modified. OSHA's Subpart S Electrical Standard eTool easily guides you to the requirements that apply to your installation. You can find it at: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/etools/subpartS/subpart_s_etool.html
Machine Guarding and Lock out/Tag out are the root cause of about 1000 worker deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. It's ironic that there is no regulation mandating that machines be manufactured or sold with guards despite the fact that OSHA requires guarding. Employers are often unaware of this shortcoming - or will try to use it as an excuse when their machine guarding efforts fall short.
Speaking of falling short, are your lock out/tag out procedures customized for each piece of equipment in your workplace? Or do you have a generic lockout procedure that is intended to cover all equipment? Does your program have detailed instructions for group lockouts and managing shift or other personnel changes? Many lockout/tagout programs lack the specificity that OSHA requires.
While the Hazard Communication Standard is often on the Top 10 list, the recent alignment of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) adds a new twist. Employers take note: the first of several phased-in deadlines has past. All employers were required to train their employees on the new label elements (GHS pictograms) and the new Safety Data Sheet format by December 1, 2013. The remaining deadlines will occur on June 1, 2015, December 1, 2015, and June 1, 2016.
Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs) are generally 1.5 to 3 times heavier than their weight capacity. This means that a truck capable of lifting a 3000 pound load probably weighs between 4500 and 9000 pounds. This makes most PITs heavier than the average car, which weighs just over 4000 pounds. It's no wonder that many PIT injuries to the foot, leg, hand, and arm result in amputations. These powerful machines usually crush any bones and surrounding tissues in their way.
Like many health and safety programs, successful Respiratory Protection programs require significant up-front work. For starters, did you investigate other, more robust means of controlling exposures? Did you pick an appropriate respirator? If your employees are using cartridges, did you establish a change schedule that ensures they are replaced before the end of their service life? Does your compressed breathing air meet Grade D requirements? Are medical evaluations, fit tests, and annual respirator training sessions conducted? Have all these items been documented in a written respiratory protection program?
Is your company effectively managing these 10 top standards? Are you doing all that you can to protect your employees and keep them healthy, safe, and productive? Do you have the time, experience, and credibility to evaluate, develop, and implement your health and safety programs? Click on the link below to learn how a Certified Industrial Hygienist from Cashins & Associates can help!