Workers in New York City and Long Island have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established guidelines for worker protection and enforces those guidelines by issuing citations to employers who violate safety rules. OSHA citations may be issued as a result of periodic inspections identifying problems in the workplace, although a workers' compensation lawyer knows that there are too few OSHA inspectors and investigations do not happen frequently enough. Inspections may also occur after a worker reports a problem or after a workplace injury or death is reported.
OSHA tracks the number of citations that are issued after an investigation, and has recently released data showing the most commonly violated OSHA rules for federal fiscal year 2014, which recently ended in September. Safety and Health Magazine has published the list of the top 10 reasons for citations so employers and employees will know what safety problems to watch out for in their workplaces.
Top Most Common Workplace Safety Violations in 2014
The list of the most commonly violated safety rules was revealed by an OSHA spokesperson at the National Safety Council's Congress and Expo. According to the list, the most common OSHA regulations that were violated in fiscal year 2014 include:
- Fall Protection in Construction (1926.501). For four years in a row, this standard has been the number one most violated OSHA rule.
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200). Hazard communication is essential to keep employees informed of risks and allow them to minimize the exposure to dangers in their workplace.
- Scaffolding in Construction (1926.451). New York has strict liability laws for scaffolding accidents. When a scaffolding injury occurs, property owners can generally be held responsible for the consequences to the worker.
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134). Workers' compensation benefits are available not just for injury but also for illness. Breathing in dangerous toxins due to a lack of respiratory protection can lead to a workplace illness.
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147). Lockout and tagout procedures are important because they ensure that machines don't suddenly start or that equipment does not suddenly become electrified or operational, causing injury to workers.
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178). Fork trucks and many other types of equipment are powered by internal combustion engines or motors. OSHA sets standards for these pieces of equipment and this is the most commonly violated.
- Electrical - Wiring Methods (1910.305). Electrical injuries are one of the leading causes of death for construction workers, in part because this standard is so commonly violated.
- Ladders in Construction (1926.1053). Ladder safety issues, along with unsafe scaffolding, help to explain why falls are the top cause of construction site injuries and are considered one of the "Fatal Four" reasons for construction deaths each year.
- Machine Guarding (1910.212). Machine guards are intended to protect workers from getting caught in or crushed by machinery.
- Electrical - General Requirements (1910.303). A failure to follow general rules for electrical equipment helps to contribute to the high number of electrocutions and burn injuries on construction worksites.
Employers need to do better at following these safety rules and employees should understand the risks they face due to an unsafe workplace.
If you have suffered a disability in New York, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717 or by visiting https://www.workerslaw.com. Attorney advertising.