Want to improve safety in the workplace? Start with OSHA standards for industrial safety. Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes the most frequently-cited workplace violations. Because the most-frequent citations of 2017 are so commonplace and costly, they represent a perfect starting point for improving industrial safety.
To help you stay safe and compliant, we’ll breakdown some of 2017's top workplace citations, backed by specific guidelines to improve these programs and help you meet OSHA standards for industrial safety.
Hazard Communication Standard: 29 CFR 1910.1200
The top OSHA violation for general industry is the lack of hazard communication programs, with a total of 4,176 citations. These companies failed to follow OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which mandates that information for chemical source illnesses and injuries be distributed to all industrial workers.
If you don’t have a communication plan, OSHA provides detailed information for recognizing, evaluating, and controlling these chemical hazards, which you can use to design a protective program for employees.
- Develop a written hazard communication program and list of hazardous chemicals present
- Properly label chemical containers
- Ensure chemical safety data sheets are available to workers
- Implement training programs with protective measures for chemical handling
Respiratory Protection: 29 CFR 1910.134
Respiratory protection programs are designed to control diseases caused by breathing air contaminated by fumes, gases, vapors, and more. This type of protection is often overlooked when discussing PPE, but citations related to respiratory protection totaled 3,097 in 2017.
OSHA does provide guidelines for what your respiratory protection program must describe.
- Respirators for use in the workplace
- Medical evaluations required to use respirators
- Proper use of respirators during routine and ER situations
- Instructions and schedules for maintenance of respirators
- Training for hazards, limitations of use, etc.
- Regular evaluation of program
Electrical Wiring and Systems Design: 29 CFR 1910.301-399
This is a big one. This standard requires proper electrical wiring methods for equipment and systems. In 2017, faulty wiring methods accounted for 1,405 violations – with many of these being improper use of extension cords.
- Electrical equipment must be free of hazards
- Maintain access and working space around equipment operating at ≤ 600 volts
- Tag-out and remove all damaged receptacles and portable equipment
- Train workers to not plug or unplug energized equipment with wet hands
- If using flammable liquids or combustible dusts, follow requirements for electrical safety in Hazardous Classified Locations
Powered Industrial Trucks: 29 CFR 1910.178
Workers operating forklifts and other industrial equipment must be trained, certified, and reevaluated every three years. Industrial companies received nearly 2,200 safety violations for improper vehicle use, lack of training, and a failure to refresh training programs.
The OSHA General Industry regulation offers general safety requirements for powered industrial trucks:
- Safety clearances for aisles, loading docks, and other vehicle routes
- Aisles and passageways should be kept clear and in good repair
- Permanent aisles should be identified
Machinery and Machine Guarding: 29 CFR 1910.211-219
The machine guarding standard protects workers from point-of-operation hazards stemming from grinders, wood-working equipment, and other industrial machinery.
Last year, companies racked up 1,933 total violations for lack of guarding methods such as barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, and electronic safety devices.
Facilities are required to review all equipment to ensure proper protection is in place. At least one method of machine guarding is required to protect operators, and other nearby employees, from injury, amputation, or worse. OSHA also provides additional standards for industrial safety in Subpart O of the OSHA General Industry regulations:
- Conduct a survey to ensure all equipment is guarded
- Guarding devices must meet standards, or if no specific standards are available, be designed to prevent operators from placing body parts in the danger zone
- Provide ongoing training for the inspection, maintenance, and modification of mechanical power presses
- Certify employees’ training annually for Presence Sensing Device Initiation (PSDI), including:
- The manufacturers’ test procedures for checking operation of device
- The safety distance required
- The operation, function, and performance of PSDI mode
- Requirements for hand tools used in PSDI mode
- Consequences of circumventing or bypassing safeguards or operation functions of PSDI systems
Looking for hand safety tips? Check out 5 Ways to Improve Hand Safety