Each year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases its list of the top construction violations. To help you keep your eye on the biggest safety risks, we’ve compiled the top 10 and what you can do to prevent these from happening at your job site.
1. Fall Protection
By far, the most cited violation was a lack of fall protection. OSHA issued 193 citations and $1,532,108 in penalties in the 2021 fiscal year. Falls are one of the most common causes of injury and death on construction sites so preventing them is critical. To avoid such incidents, plan ahead by installing toe boards, guardrails and safety nets when working at heights.
Only 83 citations were issued for sufficient scaffolding but charged the hefty price of $508,0425. Scaffolding should be able to support its own weight and 4 times the maximum intended load. Always supervise the assembly and dismantling processes, and maintain inspection of equipment for hazards. Also, never set up scaffolding in areas with electrical or falling object hazards.
OSHA issued 68 citations for ladders that did not meet regulations in 2021 resulting in $239,116 in fines. Ladder safety is vital whether using fixed ladders, portable ladders, or mobile ladder stands.
To keep construction workers safe above and below ground, all surface encumbrances and underground installations, including sewer, water, electric fuel and telephone, must be identified before excavations begin. OSHA issued 63 citations and $399,164 in fines for failing to identify surface and underground hazards prior to excavating.
5. Excavation Protection
OSHA mandates specific excavation requirements and any company that does not follow those mandates is at risk of penalty. That risk cost companies $610,843 across 49 citations in 2021. To ensure your worksite is in compliance, contact local utilities before doing any digging.
6. Healthy and Safety Provisions
In 2021, 44 citations were issued for a total of $183,350 for the lack of sufficient safety accommodations at a worksite. Arranging a worksite to be as safe as possible is vital. Use mobile offices and steel storage containers to provide safe places for workers and avoid penalties.
7. Fall Protection Systems
OSHA has strict standards for fall protection systems to keep your workers safe. Review the standards and ensure your fall protection systems are high enough, include the proper netting or mesh, and that they provide the proper amount of support for your employees. Failure to do so resulted in 41 citations for a total cost of $157,679 in 2021.
8. Training Programs
While this violation may not be as imminently threatening as falling objects it still cost companies 38 citations and $106,749 in 2021. Training programs for workers are critical since they lay the foundation for a safe worksite. The best way to avoid penalties here is to have well-documented, thorough training for all employees on your site.
9. Aerial Lifts
Using aerial lifts like vertical towers, aerial ladders, and extensible boom platforms improperly cost businesses $158,955 across 32 citations in 2021. Ensure safe operation by adhering to OSHA’s guidelines for aerial lifts, which include regular testing and proper placement on the job site.
10. Respiratory Protection
OSHA requires that employees at risk of contracting bloodborne pathogens on the job, including hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other viruses have an exposure control plan in place. In 2021 30 violations and $49,146 in fines were cited for not having a plan detailing employee respiratory protection. To avoid this, provide sufficient PPE, employee training and advocate for vaccinations.
Large fines and penalties are just part of what is at risk for not following proper OSHA mandates on the job. Failure to prepare and protect your workers can also result in project delays, unemployment, injury and even death. To help keep your team safe, visit the OSHA construction industry page or speak to one of our experts.