OSHA’s Newest Top 10 Workplace Hazard List
December 5, 2022
Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, releases its own top ten list, except this one takes a look at the safety standards that employers most frequently violate in the workplace. Just a few weeks ago, the agency released its preliminary figures for the fiscal year 2022, and the usual suspects from previous years are again topping the list.
According to the AFL-CIO (the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), workplace hazards kill and disable approximately 125,000 American workers every year. 4,764 of the victims perish from traumatic injuries and 120,000 are disabled by occupational illnesses. You can learn more about some of the most dangerous and commonplace hazards that workers face.
Fall Protection, General Requirements and Training Requirements
General requirements for fall protection include mandating that an employer provide protective measures for any worker who works at a height of four feet or higher. Employers must also provide workers with fall protection gear and safety systems if they work above hazardous machinery or equipment, regardless of how many feet up in the air they are. Similar to other workplace safety issues, federal law requires employers to provide training on how workers can recognize and minimize certain hazards, like those associated with falls. Workers must receive training in a language that is easy for them to understand, and employers must post signage as well.
OSHA’s hazard communication standard is designed to ensure chemical safety in the workplace. The standard requires workplaces to provide written information about the identities and hazards associated with chemicals. The written documents must be made readily available – and understandable — to and for all workers. Employers must also provide comprehensive training on safe chemical handling procedures. When an employer fails to comply with OSHA’s hazard communication standard, it can lead to catastrophic illnesses and injuries in workers. These include reactive airway disease (RAD), asthma, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other types of toxic inhalation injuries.
To control occupational diseases that are caused by breathing air contaminated by harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, employers must utilize certain engineering and safety control measures. These measures include enclosing or confining an operation that will produce harmful inhalants, installing ventilation locally and generally, and substituting materials that are less toxic. Employers must also provide employees with respirators whenever the equipment is necessary to protect their respiratory health.
OSHA has numerous industry-wide standards in place to promote ladder safety. Just a few examples of the agency’s requirements include:
- Certain rules for the design of rungs and steps
- Instructions for how workers should safely climb ladders
- Requirements for how to inspect ladders (and how often to do so)
- Requirements that govern fixed, mobile, and portable ladders, respectively
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that approximately 60 workers are killed and another 4,500 sustain serious injury in incidents involving scaffolding each year. To address scaffold-related risk factors, employers must perform OSHA-approved safety checklists and implement certain control methods that are proven to reduce associated hazards.
Lockout/tagout procedures are critical for ensuring that industrial equipment is fully powered down and inoperable while workers are servicing, repairing, or inspecting it. Employers must establish and maintain effective energy control programs based on the equipment that workers use. The failure to use energy control methods lead to avoidable injuries, which can be fatal.
Powered Industrial Trucks
Powered industrial trucks are accompanied by several serious hazards, such as vehicular collisions, pedestrian safety issues, and falling load incidents. Not only do employers need to train powered industrial truck operators on how to competently and safely operate these vehicles, but the operators must also successfully complete OSHA’s powered industrial truck training and evaluation procedures.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Lifesaving Equipment: Eye and Face Protection
Employers need to provide PPE (personal protective equipment) whenever it is necessary to safeguard an employee against the physical hazards that are associated with the job they are performing. For example, employers must provide workers with PPE for the eyes and face when workers are exposed to hazards such as flying particles, caustic or acidic liquids, dangerous levels of light radiation, chemical gases, and vapors, molten metals, and liquid chemicals.
Machine guarding is critical when it comes to keeping workers safe against coming into contact with machinery and industrial moving parts. Working with machinery and moving parts has the potential to inflict serious injuries on workers, like crushed fingers and/or hands, burns, blindness, and amputations. OSHA has standards in place that require employers to implement procedures and safeguards to prevent incidents like these from occurring.
Were You Injured on the Job?
Every employer is legally obligated to provide workers with a safe and healthful work environment, which includes guarding them against known and recognized hazards like the ones we listed above. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to workers who become ill or who sustain injuries related to their employment. At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have fought on behalf of injured workers since 1947. Here are just a few examples of our firm’s notable recoveries on behalf of victims in need:
- We represented the family of a client who was fatally injured in a workplace accident. Our client was crushed when an 1800-pound roll of paper fell off a railcar, killing him. We successfully obtained a $5 million recovery on behalf of our client’s grieving family.
- Galfand Berger’s client, a 40-year-old construction framer, fell from the second floor of a house under construction and suffered multiple skull fractures and a severe traumatic brain injury. His doctors believed he would never fully recover and, sadly, he passed away four months after the parties reached a settlement, leaving behind two teenage children. You can learn more about this recovery here.
If you would like to learn more about filing a claim for a workplace illness or injury, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.