The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compiles an annual list of the top 10 safety violations observed in workplaces. This list changes little from year to year. The ranking is based on cited violations, not the actual cause of safety incidents. However according to Thomas Galassi, OSHA director of enforcement programs “If all employers simply correct the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations, and hospitalizations would drastically decline.”
Fall protection tops the list, and scaffolds and ladders are also mentioned. The lack of communication about workplace hazards is second. Inadequate respiratory protection is common, as is unsafe operation of moving machinery. Machines or wiring under repair are not always locked or tagged out to protect repair workers, and general electrical safety is also on the list. The top hazards are not comprehensive but they represent an opportunity to reduce the more than 4,500 workers killed at work annually, as well as millions of injuries.
OSHA promotes a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs. They also offer consultations at workplaces with no risk of citation or penalty for employers. The consultants are from state government or academic agencies not connected to OSHA.
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