OSHA has announced its Top 10 violations of safety regulations found at the workplaces it inspected during 2016.
“Although many of the rankings remain the same, all of these violations have something else in common as well – they all are preventable if you are a conscientious employer,” says attorney John Ho of the law firm of Cozen O'Connor.
“Because the Top 10 list is so consistent, it remains an excellent starting point for businesses that want to review safety practices and policies and may not be sure where to start. It can also serve as a helpful tool for safety committees to periodically review along with the OSHA logs.”
Ed Foulke, who headed OSHA under President George W. Bush and is now an attorney at the Fisher Phillips law firm, notes that compliance can be a challenge for small and midsize businesses without a full-time safety professional on staff. However, he suggests that employers of any size who don’t want to end up on this list should routinely pursue these practices:
- Hold weekly safety talks. Employers should review all the applicable OSHA standards and talk to employees for about 15 minutes on one topic each week. After a year, an employer should have touched on all the relevant topics at least once.
- Post a list of safety rules and enforce them. Employers should make sure workers are familiar with the rules and understand that violations of the rules won't be tolerated.
- Keep you logs up to date and look at them. Look at OSHA 300 logs which record worksite injuries and illnesses, and conduct an incident analysis for each entry to figure out the root cause of the incidents and ways to eliminate future risks.
- Perform accident investigations and root cause analysis for near misses as well. These are incidents that could have easily resulted in a serious injury but did not.
If you need to brush up on what OSHA expects of employers, the agency also offers an online guide to its recommended practices for safety and health programs for employers to follow.
The Top 10 list of safety violations appear in the accompanying slideshow.