The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aims to prevent injuries and deaths in risky industries like construction. Unfortunately, despite OSHA’s best efforts, thousands of people are injured and dozens killed in occupational accidents each year.
Many of these accidents could have been prevented had the worksite followed OSHA rules as described in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
If you are hurt at work, you may have other forms of financial recovery available beyond workers’ compensation. Third-party project owners, subcontractors, and property owners all have a responsibility to ensure OSHA standards are met. If your injury was caused in part by a third party or an egregiously negligent employer, you may have legal recourse.
The Weinstein Law Group can help you when OSHA violations or other forms of negligence result in an injury or a loved one’s death. Call a workplace injury lawyer in New York today at (212) 741-3800 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
Read on to see the top 10 OSHA violations cited in 2019.
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements
Fall protection rules generally have no exceptions, yet “exceptions” are often the norm in some workplaces. Every situation involving a height of six feet or greater should be met with the appropriate protection measures. These measures can include guard rails, personal fall arrest systems, or safety nets.
Common violations include inadequate fall protection for construction activities and low-slope roof work, a lack of toeboards and fall protection in steep roof work, and inadequate protection around holes.
2. Hazard Communication
Hazards should be clearly designated throughout the workplace. Employers are required to post clear notice and information regarding the hazards, symbols on signage, and general safe habits around hazards. Employees need training on hazardous chemicals and all hazards must have a safety data sheet that is available to all workers upon request.
Each level of a scaffold that is 10 feet or more above the preceding level should be accompanied by its own fall protections. When access to the scaffold platform is more than two feet above or below the nearest access point, workers must be provided with a ladder, ramp, or other form of safe access that is not the scaffold cross brace.
All scaffold platforms must be fully planked or decked. Each base pole or frame of the scaffold should be given a base plate, mudsill, or another form of firm foundation. Guardrails must also be up to OSHA standards.
4. Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout
Energy control involves controlling access and reducing exposure to possible sources of hazardous energy. The two main measures of ensuring these protections are adequate training and lockout/tagout measures.
A lockout/tagout system uses locks, keys, and clearly-labeled tags to control access to points where hazardous energy could be controlled or potentially put in direct contact with workers, risking an electrocution death.
5. Respiratory Protection
Respiratory protection involves much more than just providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers who may be exposed to inhalants, fumes, or other respiratory hazards. Employees must also be given adequate training and each device must be properly fit to the worker. A medical evaluation must also be performed to determine the worker’s fitness and ability to use respiratory protection properly.
Ladders should only be used for climbing – not as structural braces, load-bearing transport devices, or any other use contrary to the manufactured purpose. All side rails must extend three feet past the landing point. The top step of a stepladder is not to be used as a step.
Portable ladders must be regularly inspected for defects, breaks, corrosion, or structural stress. Any ladders that fail this inspection should be withdrawn from service until repaired and marked “Do Not Use”.
All ladders must be placed on a firm, even surface to prevent instability.
7. Powered Industrial Trucks
Powered industrial trucks include forklifts, powered pallet jacks, shopping cart caddies, order picker lifts, and walk-behind powered lifts. These devices must be operated safely by individuals who have been trained and certified in their operation. Every truck shall be periodically examined, and any flawed or defective ones should be taken out of service until they are sufficiently repaired to meet spec.
8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements
Fall protection extends beyond just providing protective measures. Employees must also be trained in safe practices, recognizing fall hazards, and preventing common causes of accidents. This training must be provided by a “qualified competent person” and certified by the employer. Any time an employee indicates they do not understand safe practices, they should be retrained promptly.
9. Machine Guarding – General Requirement
Machinery must be guarded to prevent hazards related to rotating parts, flying chips and sparks, and possible “ingoing nip points.” The point of operation of the machinery should be especially protected.
Fan blades must also be guarded if they are less than seven feet from the floor or working level. These guards can have gaps no larger than ½ an inch wide.
10. Eye and Face Protection
CFR 1926.102(a)(1) states that:
“The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.”
Eye protection has to provide side protection. For employees who wear prescription glasses, eye protection must either include prescription lenses or fit over lenses in such a way as to not obstruct vision or cause discomfort.
For welding, the shade on the welding mask must comply with shade numbers as indicated in OSHA tables for eye protection against radiant energy.
OSHA Violations Can Mean Serious Injuries – Work With a Construction Accident Lawyer Now
If you have been hurt as a result of a failure to comply with any of the above rules, you could have legal recourse. A personal injury claim filed against a negligent general contractor, subcontractor, site owner, or even an equipment manufacturer can help you pay for all of your resulting injury losses. These losses typically include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call a construction accident lawyer in New York any time you think negligence has played a role in your injury or the death of a loved one. The Weinstein Law Group is available for free consultations at any time when you call (212) 741-3800 or contact us online.