The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in charge of regulating workplace safety. Failing to comply with the agency’s guidelines can lead to citations and fines. Every year, OSHA releases a list of the top 10 safety violations based on the number of allocated penalties. The results for fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017) are similar to those of previous years, but there are some differences that business owners in Louisiana should be aware of.
For the sixth year in a row, violations of fall protection requirements topped the list. In fact, more than 6,000 claims were issued to companies that failed to protect workers and work areas with the proper safety equipment. This equipment ranges from railing for elevated work areas to harnesses and lines for the employees. The rest of the top five includes violations under the hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection and lockout/tagout requirements.
Infractions of fall protection training requirements were one new addition; exactly 1,523 citations were issued because businesses failed to train workers on fall and equipment hazards or on the use and maintenance of fall protection equipment. Many of these citations may have resulted from the difficulty that companies had complying with OSHA’s Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection rule. These additional provisions regarding fall protection, ladders and walking-working surfaces could also impact 2018’s list.
The nature of a company’s OSHA violation can affect how much an employee is eligible for if he or she suffers a workplace injury. Hiring a lawyer is often essential when filing an injury claim as legal counsel could hire investigators to build up a case before negotiating for the settlement. With a workers’ compensation claim, however, no proof of negligence is necessary.