This post is the first in a series that will countdown the top 10 most common violations reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Be sure to check back for updates to the series!
Written By: Matthew Day, ARM, AIS
If you have ever navigated through OSHA’s website, you may have come across the annual “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards,” found under the “Data & Statistics” tab. This resource offers a snapshot of what OSHA’s 2,200 compliance inspectors view as the nation’s top violations.
Since the list rarely changes, one could even argue that the standards listed under the top violations may also be targets for OSHA based on injury and fatality statistics. Either way, if OSHA’s knocking on your door, you may be added to the top 10 statistics for next year if you are not in compliance with these standards.
The purpose of this article series is to give you a starting point and some basic direction on each of these top 10 cited standards. Although this article is not a complete resource on OSHA standards, links to the OSHA standards are provided if you wish to review the standards in more detail.
If you are interested in additional learning opportunities about OSHA standards and compliance, consider taking an OSHA 10 or 30 hour certification course. Courses are available online or in a classroom, whichever best fits your needs.
Now on to the standards…
To start our countdown, we will review violation #10 Machine Guarding. Get out your pen and paper (or tablet for you Millennials) and let’s get started!
#10 – Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212) – 2,704 violations
This standard is “General requirements for all machines” under 1910 Subpart O – Machinery and Machine guarding. OSHA reports that workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions, and over 800 deaths annually. Severe injuries like amputations often result in permanent disability.
Protect your employees from machinery-related injury or death exposures by complying with this standard. To ensure the safety of your workers, follow these action steps:
1. Inspect each machine to identify moving parts on the equipment and other possible hazards, such as flying debris and stored energy associated with the operation of that equipment. Also make sure fixed equipment is anchored to prevent it from moving while in operation.
2. Once you have identified the hazards with your equipment, use fixed guards and other safeguard device controls to engineer the hazard out of the equation. Other safeguard device controls would include: 2-hand switch operation, laser guards, restraints, and similar engineering technology that prevent your employee from accessing an identified “danger zone.” Remember to consider all moving/rotating equipment hazards. Rotating fan blades less than 7’ above a working area should also be guarded.
3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is important, but it is considered a last resort. Engineer the hazard out of the operations or have clear, effective administration controls in place to prevent a hazard before relying on PPE, such as safety glasses.
4. Train employees operating the equipment to look for hazards and ask them to report any hazards seen. If an employee brings a legitimate concern to you, fix it! Remind your employees that it is their responsible to work in a safe manner and to communicate identified hazardous or unsafe working conditions to management.
5. Test and maintain your existing equipment safeguards, inspect any new equipment before operating to identify “danger zones,” and never assume that people will take the proper precautions without having them clearly explained. Always be proactive in communicating with and training your staff, and inspecting and maintaining the equipment they use.
For an additional training resource on machine guarding, visit: OSHA eTool
What safety measures does your team implement to keep workers safe from injury related to equipment malfunctions or improper use? Share your tips below, or experiences meeting this OSHA standard.