Recently the top ten construction site O.S.H.A. violations were released for fiscal year 2014, and while the results are similar to years past, what is surprising is how the top 4 violations account for over 15,500 citations, which would seem to indicate three areas where OSHA is really focusing enforcement actions.
As one would expect, fall prevention, specifically the duty to have fall protection, was the number one construction safety violation with 6,540 citations being issued. The number two violation was related to scaffolds, specifically the general requirements related to the erection and use of scaffolding, with 4,182 total citations being issued. Ladders came is at number three with the general use of ladders being problematic with 2,548 total citations being issued.
The lack of sufficient fall protection training requirements was the fourth leading construction safety violation, with 1,588 citations being issued. The fifth leading violation was related to personal protective and life saving equipment, specifically eye and face protection, with 1,121 citations. The sixth leading violation was also in the personal protective and life saving equipment category, specifically head protection, with 967 citations being issued.
The seventh leading violation for O.S.H.A. construction violations is for toxic and hazardous substances, specifically hazard communications, with 900 citations being issued. Number eight was general safety and health provisions 805 citations. Scaffolding, specifically the use and operation of aerial lifts, was the ninth leading violation with 772 violations. The tenth leading violation was in the excavation category, with specific excavation requirements being the exact violation, which resulted in 672 citations.
When looking at the data, it appears as if the inspectors with O.S.H.A. are really focusing on fall protection, particularly the duty to have fall protection and fall protection training, as well as the proper use of ladders, scaffolding and aerial lifts in their enforcement actions. The reason for this focus is that these types of violations result in numerous construction worker injuries and deaths during the year. While the other violations are significant, it is expected that the O.S.H.A. will continue to focus on anything fall related in the near future.
As a construction professional, it is our duty to create a safe work environment for workers on our job sites and make sure that each worker is goes home at the end of the day to their families uninjured and alive. O.S.H.A violations are avoidable by understanding and embracing safe construction practices!