Managing Safety Compliance
Maintaining a safe workplace should be a top priority for all employers, especially in high risk industries where safety compliance and risk management is essential. Ultimately it is the employers who have a responsibility to protect workers by ensuring they are well trained and informed about potential hazards in the workplace.
Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration names the top most common workplace safety violations from inspections that year. Despite the fact that these hazards are the most common, they can be the hardest to identify, so it is important that employees are kept up-to-date and that communication is transparent.
Here are the top 10 safety violations of 2014:
10. Electrical Systems General requirements
The OSHA cited 2,427 federal violations in electrical systems. The problem? Employees weren’t following the factory instructions and misusing equipment. Employees need to know and adhere to regulations to ensure you maintain compliance and reduce workplace incidents.
9. Machine Guarding
Machines operating without a machine guard can result in a severe injury to not only the operator but other employees. Exposed blades were named as one of the top violations and a major workplace hazard. It is essential that a safe guard is used on every machine, to prevent rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.
8. Electrical Wiring methods
Faulty electrical wiring can be one of the most hazardous violations in the workplace, yet can often be overlooked. Electrical wires must be properly installed with insulation where necessary, kept secured with panel board enclosures to prevent moisture and protected from abrasion. Regular inspection can help reduce risk.
Ladders are one of the most common workplace tools. It is important to remind employees of the general safety requirements and that there are different regulations for wood ladders and portable metal ladders.
Some employees may be tempted to take shortcuts, but it is critical that lockout/tagout procedures are followed strictly. When a shift change occurs, the person coming in may not be aware that a machine is on and unknowingly enter into a danger zone.
5. Powered Industrial Trucks
Ensure all trucks, forklifts and other motorised hand trucks are maintained and serviced regularly. Any truck deemed unsafe to operate should be removed from the fleet immediately.
4. Respiratory Protection
Employees need to be reminded to wear all safety equipment when handling machinery. This includes certified respirators to protect against air contaminants such as dust, fumes, gases and vapors. Employee training can help protect workers and manage their safety with regular fit testing and medical evaluation.
Employers are bound to protect construction workers from falls and falling objects while working on scaffolding. Ensure the general safety requirements for scaffolding are upheld and that it is designed by a qualified person and constructed in accordance with safety laws and design.
2. Hazard Communication
As stated before, communication is key to ensuring safety compliance and hazard reduction. Employees need to be well informed about the risks and hazards. Critical information needs to be shared with all employees. Developing, implementing and maintaining a written hazard communication program can be useful, as well as a structured label system and effective management system for Safety Data Sheets.
1. Fall Protection General Requirements
Fall Protection was named the number one most common safety violation. Appropriate guidelines must be followed to protect employees who are working at 6 feet or above. Employees must be provided with fall protection gear and measures need to be in place to prevent falls. At the end of the day, safety compliance isn’t about the fines, it’s about valuing your employees and their right to get home safe.