Most-Cited OSHA Standards and Their Cost to Businesses

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in the year 2013, 4,405 fatal injuries happened at workplaces in the United States. The figure may seem large when considered by itself, but comparatively, it represents a reduction of almost 25 percent in fatal injuries since 2003. Nowadays, businesses are prioritizing safety and have made progress in improving the working environment for their workers by partnering with organizations that offer training and certifications on safety.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls from the construction trade are generally the leading cause of fatal injuries. Violations involving fall protection ranks high up the list, with penalties and fines collected amounting to more than twice that of the second-leading cause of injuries in the workplace. Smaller companies have been found to be at greater risk than bigger companies, as in 2013 alone, small businesses paid nearly four times the amount in fines as large corporations with more than 250 employees. To get a better picture of how these violations to health and safety standards affect businesses, let’s take a look at the value of safety from OSHA’s statistics.
Top 10 Most Frequently Violated OSHA Standards
Topping the list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards is Fall Protection: 7,900 inspections were carried out, which resulted in 8,176 citations and a total of more than $20 million in fines collected. In 2013 alone, 36.9 percent of the total deaths in the construction industry were attributed to falls. That’s 294 lives that could have been saved, had fall protection been implemented by companies across all industries.
Scaffolding and Machine and Machinery Guarding came in at second and third place, respectively, and fines of approximately $9 million each were assessed due to these violations. OSHA standards that regulated the safety rules involved in the control of hazardous energy, powered industrial trucks, ladders, wiring methods and components, electrical systems, Hazard Communication, and respiratory protection rounded out the top 10 most frequently violated safety standards. Respiratory equipment violations alone, although ranked the lowest in the list, contributes to more than $2.4 million in fines yearly – an amount that could overwhelm any small business trying to get off the ground.”
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NSC Announces Lowest Death Rate Per Mile Traveled on Record in 2014

“The National Safety Council has announced its preliminary estimate that approximately 35,400 motor vehicle fatalities occurred in 2014. According to its news release, the estimated annual mileage death rate dropped to 1.18 deaths 100 million miles traveled, matching the lowest NSC preliminary estimate on record.

“Every day, almost 100 people die in completely preventable crashes,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC’s president and CEO. “We all need to make safer choices when it comes to speeding, impairment, and distraction behind the wheel – lives depend on it.”

The NSC’s recommended safety tips include: buckle up every trip – even when traveling short distances; refrain from all electronic device use – including hands-free – behind the wheel; secure children in size-appropriate restrains; plan ahead and drive defensively; and never drive when tired.”

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If Zero’s the Goal, Does How We Get There Matter?

“While we all want the result of zero injuries, the approaches we take to get there, including our stated and measured goals and supporting initiatives, sometimes end up making our efforts more confusing and problematic. Zero injury goals are often more fodder for company posters and financial and vision statements than real, meaningful direction for an organization.

If zero is the ultimate goal, why not punish people for reporting injuries? Won’t that help us achieve our goal? Illogical, isn’t it? Zero is certainly a goal, but not to be achieved by any means. So we all want zero injuries, but we want to ensure the results were achieved by the right actions. What, precisely, are the right actions? Has this been defined and aligned within your organization?

Consider asking a sampling of 20 people in your organization two questions: 1) What would you see as common practice when we have achieved and sustained zero injuries over multiple years? 2) What important safety-related beliefs would then be common to make this happen? I promise you will receive at least 15 distinctly different answers.

If zero is the goal and we all aren’t on the same page, how can it be achieved? Safety excellence is defined not only by the great results that are achieved; it is also defined by a deep understanding of the performance that yielded those great results, with a uniform belief that improvement is still and always possible.”

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WHO Urges Worldwide Use of ‘Smart’ Syringes

“Saying the use of the same syringe or needle to give injections to more than one person is driving the spread of a number of deadly infectious diseases worldwide, the World Health Organization on Feb. 23 called for the worldwide use of “safe” syringes. Millions of people could be protected from infections acquired through unsafe injections if all health care programs switched to syringes that cannot be used more than once, the UN agency stated as it launched a new policy on injection safety.

WHO said a 2014 study it sponsored, which focused on the most recent available data, estimated that in 2010, up to 1.7 million people were infected with hepatitis B virus and as many as 315,000 were infected with hepatitis C and as many as 33,800 with HIV through unsafe injections.

WHO’s new safety guidelines and policy contain detailed recommendations highlighting the value of safety features for syringes, including devices that protect health workers against accidental needlesticks. Also, WHO stressed the need to reduce the number of unnecessary injections as a critical way of reducing risk. There are 16 billion injections administered every year; about 5 percent of them are for immunizing children and adults and 5 percent are for other procedures, such as blood transfusions and injectable contraceptives. The remaining 90 percent are given into muscle (intramuscular route) or skin (subcutaneous or intradermal route) to administer medicines. “In many cases these injections are unnecessary or could be replaced by oral medication,” WHO noted.”

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Safely Aloft

“Fall protection was number one among the top 10 most frequently cited federal OSHA standards in 2012. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leading cause of worker deaths on construction sites is falling. In 2011, a staggering 35 percent of total deaths in construction were due to an unprotected fall. While the existing OSHA general industry standards recognize the use of guardrails and physical barriers as the primary methods for employee protection against falls, those standards also recognize that personal fall protection systems can provide more effective means for employee protection.

Like OSHA, our engineers believe that the majority of slips, trips, and falls are preventable. We also recognizes the importance of allowing employers the flexibility to decide which fall protection system works best for their particular operation, while also ensuring that their employees receive a sufficient level of protection.

Choosing an effective fall protection system is dependent upon each company’s unique application, along with the federal guidelines outlined for that particular industry. While federal guidelines outline the need for effective employee protection against potential falls, the standard for employees who work atop tanker trucks is unclear. Most tanker trucks are approximately 14 feet tall. This height, combined with the cylindrical shape of the tanks, can pose a real safety risk to workers who have to climb around on top of them. Stephen Wallace, environmental health and safety manager for Intergulf Corporation, recognized the importance of fall protection as a necessary component to ensure the total safety of his workers who go atop the trucks.”

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