Top 10 OSHA Violations for Construction Companies


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body which consistently keeps workers safe while on the job. Before OSHA regulated the work scene, workers were hurt or killed due to faulty and unsafe work situations. OSHA is the reason workers are given safety materials and sufficient time to complete a project and return to their families at night. Every year, however, there are companies who violate OSHA standards. A list of the top ten most common OSHA violations follows.

1. Fall Protection

This standard states that all surfaces on which a worker walks is strong enough to support the weight of the worker, and for any worker who works at a certain height have fall protection gear. OSHA lists this as the most violated standard. Many construction, brick laying and building companies violate these policies in some form.

2. Hazard Communication

This standard dictates proper communication for toxic or hazardous materials. All employees must have access to the documents reviewing the dangers of all materials on the work site. Work sites must document employee training regarding hazardous material, and all material must be properly labeled. Safety data sheets must also be on hand to avoid a violation of this standard.

3. General Requirements – Safety and Health Regulations for Construction

This section reviews the use of scaffolding and states that any scaffolding must support its own weight plus four times its intended weight. OSHA states this standard as the third most violated, which means workers on scaffolding are not as safe as they could be.

4. Respiratory Protection

Many employers ignore or disregard respiratory protection, but OSHA takes it seriously. This standard requires employers to provide workers with adequate ventilation, proper mouth coverings and restricted access to work areas that are producing any type of air contaminant. OSHA appreciates companies that try to substitute materials which do not emit as many air contaminants as their competitors.

5. Wiring Methods, Components and Equipment for General Use

This standard covers wiring, its location, placement, use and general upkeep. The wiring must be placed in OSHA approved locations, and cannot block certain areas of the work space. It must not be stripped and it must not be an obvious fire hazard. OSHA will cite different businesses for different wiring reasons, so reading the standard and understanding how it applies to each unique business is best.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks

This standard covers any industrial truck powered by an engine or an internal combustible engine. It is a wide category and encompasses hand trucks, tractors, lift trucks, fork trucks, and many other trucks used in warehouses or yards. OSHA expects the trucks to be in good repair and all documentation for that repair to be readily available.

7. Ladders

Ladders have many sub-sections, as there are a number of different ladders available on the market. OSHA expects each ladder to have the ability to hold a certain weight amount, while some ladders must come complete with safety features. Some OSHA approved ladder safety features include locks on the wheels and hand rails for tall ladders.

8. The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)

This standard will cover the maintenance and servicing of any machines that could harm employees when they are turned on. There are a number of minimum performance requirements for the use of these machines, and OSHA expects to see readily available documentation that the requirements are being met on a daily basis.

9. General Equipment Maintenance

This is a general standard that inspects the installation and use of the equipment. The business must have documentation on hand that the machinery is being used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and that it is repaired on a regular basis. This standard will also review the routine maintenance of the machines to make sure the company is not placing workers on a machine that might break and harm an employee.

10. General Requirements for All Machines

This standard will cover machine guarding. Machine guarding is defined as the methods used to protect the employee from the dangers of the machine during use. Any rotating parts, or any material that could fly off the machine, need to have protective gear between it and the employee to be considered safe by OSHA standards.

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