OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an organization that is responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations in workplace environments. Employers, employees, and manufacturers are all obligated to follow the OSHA guidelines and support safety in the workplace. These regulations are set in place to maintain safe workplace environments and prevent serious injuries and fatalities. Workplace accidents can range in severity, from minor wounds to serious life-long injuries or even death. People can lose their lives, their loved ones, or their ability to work or perform naturally in everyday tasks. For this reason, it is important to support the OSHA regulations and do your part to protect yourself and other by maintaining proper safety standards at work. Continue reading to learn more about OSHA regulations and the four types of violations companies face if they are not up to code.
There are four distinct types of violations a workplace can be assigned by an OSHA inspector: Willful, Serious, Repeated, and Other-Than-Serious. All four of these violations range in severity, but should equally be avoided at all costs. Willful violations are assigned when known OSHA regulations are consciously ignored. Although the discretion was known about, no one took action to remedy the problem. This would call for a Willful OSHA violation.
Serious violations are any workplace hazards that have the potential to cause serious or fatal injuries and accidents. Repeated violations are given when a workplace is guilty of the same violation more than once or on a repetitive timetable. And for all other workplace hazards, OSHA inspectors will assign Other-Than-Serious violations if they are capable of impacting the safety of the workplace, but not likely to cause serious injury or death.
It is common for employers to display OSHA regulation posters throughout the workplace to notify employees of their OSHA obligations and workplace safety rights. These posters will have information regarding workplace safety, OSHA requirements, and instructions for notifying superiors about workplace safety concerns.
Common Workplace Safety Hazards
There is a list of the most frequently violated OSHA requirements that are important to know so that you can prevent them as an employee or employer. The most common hazards that OSHA inspectors have to cite workplaces for the following:
Protection Against Falling
Many workplaces or vocations require working at elevated spaces, like construction workers and painters. For this reason, companies are required by OSHA to provide fall protection for employees working at heights greater than 6 feet. Employees that work above dangerous machinery must always have fall protection, no matter how high or low they are.
On the subject of heights and fall protection, another common violation construction companies get cited for involves the safety of scaffolding. On top of fall protection, scaffolding must also comply with weight capacity and several other safety features.
Continuing our discussion of fall protection and proper weight capacity, ladders are also commonly in violation with OSHA requirements. Not only must workplace ladders be able to support a certain amount of weight, they must also be safely designed in terms of cleats, rungs, and steps.
In factories or workplaces that use heavy machinery, OSHA requires that any dangerous moving part in a machine must be guarded with a shield or enclosure. This of course prevents burns, lost appendages, amputation, blindness, and other serious injuries.
Things like forklifts, dozers, tractors, and other industrial trucks powered by an electrical motor or internal combustion engine must always be in compliance with OSHA requirements. These include fire safety and protection, maintenance safety measures, and more.