People go to work focused on providing for themselves and their families. They don’t walk onto a construction zone or manufacturing floor or into another workplace expecting to be injured. But, unfortunately, injuries occur all too frequently when safety rules are violated, and these injuries can cost workers their livelihoods.
What are the top workplace safety violations throughout the country?
According to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s annual list of the 10 most cited workplace safety violations, fall-protection violations are again in the No. 1 spot, for the 8th year in a row. There were 7,216 fall-protection violations in 2018. This is an increase from 2017, when there were 6,887. Violations included not having safety nets, guardrails and fall-arrest systems in place.
Second on the list are chemical hazards and hazard communication. It includes both chemicals brought into and produced in workplaces. There were 4,537 safety violations related to chemicals and hazard communication in 2018. Violations included employers’ not putting in place required documentation, information and training about the proper use of chemicals.
Here are the remaining safety violations in ranked order, with the number of violations (in parentheses) and most often cited violation area:
- Scaffolding (3,319)—Not having proper protections in place to keep workers from falling to a lower level when the scaffold was more than 10 feet above that lower level.
- Respiratory protection (3,112)—Failing to require workers who need to use respirators on the job to first undergo medical evaluations to determine their ability to use this equipment.
- Lockout/tagout (2,923)—This standard concerns hazardous energy and how it is controlled during servicing of equipment and machines. Not having procedures in place for performing this control was the safety risk most often cited.
- Ladders (2,780)—Neglecting to ensure portable ladders had the proper extension length and were properly secured.
- Powered industrial trucks (2,281)—Not ensuring the competency of forklift and hand-truck operators in using the equipment.
- Fall protection-training requirements (1,978)—Failing to provide training to employees who might be exposed to fall hazards.
- Machine guarding (1,969)—Not providing adequate protection to workers from rotating parts, flying sparks and other machine dangers.
- Personal protective equipment for eyes and face (1,528)—Neglecting to make sure employees use protective eye and face equipment.
Injured Workers Have Recourse
If you’ve been injured on the job, first seek medical treatment for your injury, then report your injury in writing to your supervisor and union, if you are in one. Keep all paperwork related to your injury. This can include your own written statement, eyewitness reports, doctor reports and any related medical bills. If you are unable to work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation through your employer. In New York, you can also visit the Workers’ Compensation Board for eligibility information and details on filing a claim at http://www.wcb.ny.gov/.
If you are denied worker’s compensation, you might wish to file an appeal with the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. You may also want to speak with the attorney about filing an additional claim against the employer or other entity that was liable for your injuries, as sometimes workers’ compensation payments are not enough.
If you’ve been injured in a workplace or other accident, the qualified professionals at Kaplan Lawyers PC can help. Our attorneys are available for you to contact 24/7.