Regardless of the sector in which they work, most employees take it for granted that their employer has their best interests in mind when it comes to safeguarding their safety. Indeed, they understandably assume that they’ve been provided with the necessary training and safety equipment, and that they’re covered by the necessary safety protocols.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that this trust on the part of employees is often misplaced, as employers frequently err when it comes to safety-related issues — sometimes through simple negligence and sometimes through conscious disregard.
If you have a hard time believing this, consider the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recent release of its preliminary results for 2016’s most frequent safety violations at the annual meeting of the National Safety Congress.
The preliminary results, which outline the ten most frequent OSHA violations through September 30, indicate that there are certain sectors in which the threat to employee safety remains very real and very constant with thousands of work-related injuries sustained year after year.
The ten most frequent OSHA violations were identified as follows:
- Fall protection – 6,929 violations issued
- Hazard communications – 5,677 violations issued
- Scaffolding – 3,906 violations issued
- Respiratory protection – 3,585 violations issued
- Lockout/tagout – 3,414 violations issued
- Powered industrial trucks – 2,860 violations issued
- Ladders – 2,639 violations issued
- Machine guarding – 2,451 violations issued
- Electrical wiring – 1,940 violations issued
- Electrical, general requirements – 1,704 violations issued
Some common and unfortunate themes emerge when these safety violations are examined more closely: a lack of training, a dearth of proper safety equipment, and the complete absence of safety protocols.
As discouraging as all this is, it’s important for workers to understand that in the event they suffer any sort of injury attributable to these or other causes, they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits that can cover both their medical expenses and their lost wages.