OSHA's Top 10 Safety Violations and How to Avoid Them

Mike A. Dwyer | Nov 30, 2022 | minute read

OSHA's Top 10 Safety Violations and How to Avoid ThemOSHA was designed to ensure safe working conditions for employees, yet the agency sometimes gets a bad rap among employers. In keeping workers safe, OSHA also protects businesses from liability insurance claims and OSHA complaints.

OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is a federal agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency is charged with ensuring employees’ rights and protections.

Each fiscal year, OSHA puts out a list of the top 10 OSHA violations to help inform businesses about potential safety hazards in their workplaces. It is worthwhile to review the list annually to ensure safe working conditions at your business.

Why Your Business Should Be Concerned About OSHA Violations

Every year, OSHA issues thousands of safety violations to companies across the country. Contrary to rumors, OSHA does not have the authority to permanently shut down a business. Nonetheless, they do have the authority to issue safety violations as well as severe penalties and stiff fines.

One safety hazard can cost a business many thousands of dollars in penalties, and multiple fines can add up to a significant sum of money.

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To give you an idea of how OSHA issues violations, they categorize violations in one of the following ways:

  1. Other than a serious violation – A violation that affects the health or safety of an employee but will not cause severe physical harm or death.
  2. Serious violation – A violation that is apt to cause a severe physical injury or death, and the employer was either aware of the risk or should have been aware of it.
  3. Failure to reduce safety hazard as noted in a prior violation – A violation stating the employer did not correct the conditions stated on a previous violation within the timeframe specified. OSHA may levy additional fines for each day the employer fails to correct unsafe conditions.
  4. Repeated or willful violations – The employer receives multiple violations for the same safety hazard within a three-year period. An OSHA inspector may increase the amount of the violation if it results in a worker’s death.

OSHA fines are $14,502 per violation, and employers may be issued more than one violation during a site visit. The fine for failing to abate a safety violation is $14,502 per day, and the fine for violations of repeated or willful violations is $145,027.

Businesses can learn much about workplace safety by reviewing common violations at other companies and working to prevent accidents and injuries.

The Top 10 OSHA Violations for 2022

OSHA’s fiscal year 2022 ran from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022, and the following 10 OSHA violations were the top violations in 2022. We are listing them along with the number of violations in that category and OSHA’s requirements.

By becoming familiar with the common types of accidents around the country, businesses can take steps to prevent the same or similar mishaps in the workplace.

  1. Protection against falls – 5,260 violations (501)
  2. Communications about hazards – 2,424 violations (1200)
  3. Protection for the respiratory system – 2,185 violations (134)
  4. Ladder safety – 2,143 violations (1053)
  5. Scaffolding safety – 2,058 violations (451)
  6. Lockout/Tagout – 1,977 violations (147)
  7. Powered industrial trucks – 1,749 violations (178)
  8. Training requirements for fall protection – 1,556 violations (503)
  9. Eye/face protection and personal protective and lifesaving equipment – 1,401 violations (102)
  10. Guards on machines – 1,370 violations (212)

How to Avoid OSHA Safety Violations

How to Avoid OSHA Safety Violations

The OSHA guidelines and regulations are accessible and clear. Employers have a responsibility to become familiar with them and comply without exception.

The following tips will help employers remain in compliance with OSHA standards:

  • Implement a formal safety program and document it in writing.
  • Provide regular safety training for supervisors and employees.
  • Inspect your facilities and grounds for OSHA violations and correct them.
  • Assign someone to conduct periodic safety inspections and create a safety report.
  • Keep a record of accidents, illnesses, and fatalities that happened on the job and keep it updated.
  • Ensure proper supervision on the job.
  • Inspect equipment regularly and keep up with maintenance on it.
  • Calculate your OSHA incident rate, which is calculated by counting how often an illness or injury occurs at your workplace over a certain period.

Beyond having to pay large sums for OSHA violations, businesses may find their insurance premiums will go up. Insurance companies assign an experience modifier based on how much the company paid out for workers’ injuries and the risk of future losses. An insurance company then compares a company’s experience modifier to the average claims of other businesses in the same industry that are in the same state.

Final Thoughts

Injuries that happen on a job site can be very serious or even cause death. Accidents can cause large workers’ compensation claims, OSHA complaints, and huge fines. When an injured worker cannot come to work, the employer is left trying to find a replacement or manage without them. A serious injury also negatively impacts the worker’s income and family life. There is a lot at stake when employers fail to make safety considerations a priority.

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Leap | Carpenter | Kemps Insurance Agency Can Help

To learn more about how to remain OSHA compliant and protect your small business with commercial insurance, contact one of the experts at Leap Carpenter Kemps Insurance Agency.

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About The Author

Mike Dwyer is a Commercial Insurance & Risk Advisor, who specializes in Group Captive Insurance, and specialty insurance and risk management solutions for businesses in the construction industry.

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