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Top 5 Workplace Violations

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If safety isn’t a top priority at your place of employment, it may be worth your while to find a job elsewhere. Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration publishes a list of top workplace violations so businesses can recognize their own hazards and reduce the risks associated with them.

5 Ladders

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While ladders seem simple enough to use safely, there were 2,310 related violations reported in 2012. Employers were cited because they didn’t provide the right type of ladder for a job, including ladders that had damaged side rails. OSHA also issued citations because employees stood on the top rung of ladders or carried excessive loads on them.

4 Respiratory Protection

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When workers are around things like fumes, dust, sprays or vapors from which they can possibly contract a disease or illness, employers must provide adequate respiratory protection. In 2012, the 2,371 violations show that a substantial handful of businesses think that breathing clean air is overrated. The violations often resulted because employers didn’t have good fit-test procedures, a good respiratory protection program or a good selection of respirators.

3 Scaffolding

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There were 3,814 scaffolding violations in 2012. Scaffolding violations occurred when the scaffolds didn’t hold at least four times their intended load, or the suspension ropes that support them didn’t support at least six times the intended load. OSHA issued violations when scaffold platforms weren’t at least 18 inches wide, had more than an inch between units that were next to each other or lacked guardrails.

2 Hazard Communication

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In 2012, there were 4,696 violations related to so-called hazard communication. Many of the violations dealt with not having a written safety program about hazardous chemicals or providing the proper employee training and education about working with and around chemicals. Employers were also cited for not labeling containers with hazardous chemicals or having improper labels. (How hard would it be to put up a sticker?) Businesses also failed to put up safety data sheets about hazardous materials or provide employees access to them. Fail.

1 Fall Protection

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With 7,250 reported violations in 2012, issues regarding fall protection are at the top of the list. In the construction business, when there is a drop of 6 feet or more, an employer has to provide protection against falls along open edges and sides. Protection can include safety nets, guardrails or harnesses. An employer is also supposed to cover holes along work surfaces, like well or skylight openings on a roof.

Flora Richards-Gustafson

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