The federal Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) creates national safety standards for employers and collects annual information about safety violations. Each year they publish a top 10 list of violations. Although these violations are not all unique to the construction industry, many of them do show up on construction sites. Call our Albany construction accident attorney at Powers & Santola, LLP if you were injured on a construction jobsite. We can discuss your rights to workers’ compensation insurance, as well as whether you can sue under our Labor Law.
Top Ten Violations in 2022
#10. Machinery and Machine Guard (1,370 violations)
Violations of this standard have increased year over year. The 1,370 violations in 2022 is a jump over the 1,113 violations from 2021.
Machine guarding plays a critical role in protecting workers from machine-related injuries. Machine guarding requirements apply to many tools and machines seen on construction sites, such as portable power tools and guillotine cutters. When followed, these regulations will reduce the risk of injury caused by sparks, cutting, and other hazards.
#9. Eye and Face Protection (1,401 violations)
Eye and face protection is critical for construction workers, who face many hazards such as acids, vapors, light radiation, gasses, and flying particles or debris. Many construction workers end up blinded when they lack proper eye protection or when given defective personal protection equipment (PPE). Gasses and chemicals can also burn a worker’s face when PPE is lacking.
#8. Fall Protection Training Standard (1,556 violations)
Falls are definitely a leading accident for the construction trades. Workers can suffer devastating injuries when they fall from a roof, scaffolding, or ladder. Consequently, workers must receive training on fall protection. This training requires employer education at construction sites. The training should focus on identifying hazards and using fall protection and arrest systems.
Unfortunately, some employers cut corners and do not provide sufficient training, which will inevitably lead to accidents.
#7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1,749 violations)
Forklifts are common on construction sites, with more than 1.5 million operators. Workers use forklifts to move materials around the site. OSHA requires that operators receive adequate training and be evaluated. The regulation also requires a pre-shift inspection performed every day.
#6. Lockout/Tagout Requirements (Control of Hazardous Energy standard) (1,977 violations)
Many pieces of equipment need repairs on the jobsite. However, there’s a risk that someone will turn on the machine while it is being serviced. Consequently, a worker can suffer fractures, lacerations, or even amputation. The OSHA Control of Hazardous Energy standard prevents this from happening.
#5. Scaffolding (2,058 violations)
Scaffolding is essential to the modern construction site, allowing workers to move easily up and down levels when working inside or outside a building. However, construction accidents cause serious injuries. OSHA scaffolding standard requires that scaffolds be able to hold sufficient weight without failure. The standard also requires that the scaffolding be a sufficient width and have a rail.
Scaffolding which fails to meet this standard is dangerous. It could collapse, or a worker could fall because of the absence of a rail. Dozens of construction workers are killed each year in falls from scaffolding, so the sheer number of violations is alarming.
#4. Ladders (2,143)
The OSHA standard for ladders is detailed and covers their proper installation and use. For example, workers should:
- Never overload a ladder beyond its capacity
- Address ladder defects
- Remove defective ladders from service so construction workers do not use it
- Remove any hazard like oil or grease from the ladder
Violations lead to slip and falls, or else the defective ladder collapses underneath a worker.
#3. Respiratory Protection (2,185 violations)
Occupational illnesses are often overlooked as workplace injuries. Instead, many people naturally focus on dramatic accidents, like explosions. But inhaling dangerous toxins or particles can lead to serious respiratory illnesses which might prove fatal. For that reason, workers should have proper respiratory protection on the job.
The OSHA standard requires that workers be given appropriate respiratory protection based on the risks they face, such as the amount and type of hazard. Construction workers have developed serious respiratory illnesses, especially when exposed to particles.
#2. Hazard Communication (2,424 violations)
The number of violations of this standard has increased significantly, jumping from 1,947 in 2021 to 2,424 in 2022—an increase of almost 25%. It has requirements for updating Safety Data Sheets. This standard applies mostly to chemical manufacturers and not construction.
#1. Fall Protection general requirements (5,260 violations)
Violations of the fall protection standard is easily the most common violation—more than doubling its nearest competitor. Almost 50,000 people are injured each year in nonfatal falls, which works out to more than 100 fall injuries every single day.
A jobsite must be free of known dangers. Falls are a common feature of the construction trades. In addition to requiring training (see above), employers must provide PPE like safety harnesses and use toe-boards or guard rails to prevent falls. There were more than 5,000 violations across the nation for failing to provide this type of equipment.
Were You Hurt in a Construction Accident?
Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in New York. In addition to OSHA requirements, New York also has industrial requirements which apply to job sites. Any violation compromises the safety of employees.
If injured, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the accident, you might also sue the property owner, your employer, or a product manufacturer for compensation. Our goal at Powers & Santola is to get you the money you need to support yourself and your family.
Call Us Today after an Accident
The days following a serious fall or construction accident are harrowing. Many victims are spending hours shuttling between specialists or going in or out of surgery. You might not be thinking about your legal rights during this difficult time—but you should. Contact one of our Albany construction accident lawyers as soon as possible. You might qualify for badly needed compensation, and it helps to hire a lawyer to help build a claim. At Powers & Santola, our consultations are no-risk and free of any obligation.