The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes and enforces standards for workplace safety throughout the country. Most corporate entities are aware of OSHA, its important role in regulating workplace safety standards and the potential power it wields to enforce its rules.
The OSHA list
While there are numerous areas covered by OSHA, there are some standards that more commonly present citations from OSHA. The agency recently posted a list of the top 10 most commonly cited standards.
The reason for posting this list is “to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up. Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace.”
The most common standards cited by OSHA
You read the entire list here, with links to more description about the various citations, but the top three standards cited are:
- Fall protection in the construction industry: OSHA requires fall protection to be provided for work occurring at certain heights or above. The heights are different per industry. For example, OSHA requires fall protection at four feet in general industry applications, five feet in shipyards, six feet in construction work areas and eight feet for longshore operations. The requirements include guardrails, hole coverings, toe boards and other means of protection.
- Hazard communication in general industry: OSHA requires employers to make the identities and hazards of chemicals available and understandable to their workers, and to include data sheets to communicate these hazards to anyone encountering these chemicals downstream. This includes evaluation and labeling of all chemicals produced or imported. It also includes training employees in handling these chemicals.
- Respiratory protection in general industry: For work areas with insufficient oxygen, harmful dust particles, fogs, smoke, mists, vapors, sprays and other toxicants, respirators are required. Respirators can filter out toxic air and some types of respirators can provide clean oxygen from another source. OSHA provides pages of general guidance for different environments in which respirators are used.
These are just the top three most cited OSHA safety standards. Employers should be familiar with any standards that could impact their industries and workplaces. There are significant penalties and serious potential dangers for failure to comply.