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Happy Friday!

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970 "to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance." For OSHA to succeed in this mission, companies must be in compliance with its safety standards.

Failing to be in compliance and violating these standards can be very costly to the lives of your employees and the livelihood of your business.

It is now more important than ever to ensure that your company and your employees are compliant with OSHA standards. One of the first steps of this process is to make sure that your company and employees are aware of these standards and understand the necessary steps you need to take to avoid them.

To help enhance your safety awareness, we have outlined the Top 10 OSHA violations from 2016 and provided ways for you to ensure compliance and avoid costly fines:

1) Fall Protection - Total Violations: 6,906

For the past five years fall protection has reigned as the most common violation on this list. In 2014 there were 793 fatal and 261,920 non-fatal injuries resulting from an employee falling on the same level or to a lower level surface. Despite being a leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries proper fall protection is not always equipped at sites. Employers must protect their workers and take the following steps to ensure their safety:

  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor and runway, as well as around dangerous machines and equipment.

  • Include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rail

  • Select and provide required personal protective equipment to workers and train workers about job hazards in a language they can understand.

2) Hazard Communication - Total Violations: 5,665

Chemicals pose not only health hazards, like irritation, sensitization and carcinogenicity, but also physical hazards, such as flammability, corrosion and reactivity. All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, train them to handle chemicals responsibly and provide the necessary protective equipment to ensure their safety. 3) Scaffolding - Total Violations: 3,900

Scaffolds are often misused with more than 4,500 workers injured every year. These accidents can be caused by misuse (using a scaffold as a ladder) or often it can be due to improper training and deficient or damaged platforms. OSHA has set forth a list of guidelines to help avoid these tragedies which can be found here. It is important to follow OSHA's advice by providing proper fall protection equipment and ensure your employees are properly trained by offering Fall Hazard Awareness programs.

4) Respiratory Protection - Total Violations: 3,573

Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dust, fog, smoke, mist, gas, vapors and sprays. If someone is exposed to these hazards, it can cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases or death. The fit of the respirator around the nose, mouth, or face is crucial to guarding the worker against these hazardous atmospheres. Of