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Top 10 OSHA Violations

Understand the top 10 OSHA violations for loss control.

1) Neglecting to have a written Hazard Communication Program. An acceptable program is comprised of a list of any dangerous chemicals in the workplace, a written policy on the labeling procedure of these containers, material data worksheets for each chemical on the list, which employees can easily access, and employee training covering the OSHA standard and workplace risks.

2) Failing to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals. A written program is only the first step. You must have a program in place that informs and prepares your employees for potential chemical hazards.

3) Not protecting electrical conductors going into boxes, cabinets or fittings. If you are unsure if you are violating this safety standard, ask a licensed electrician or your property and casualty insurer to conduct an inspection.

4) No electrical covers and canopies. If an inspection identifies this problem, ask a qualified electrician to fix it. In addition, you should buy a low-priced polarity checker from the hardware store and test all outlets for proper polarity (since the OSHA inspector will do so, too). If you discover some incorrect polarity—a possible shock hazard—ask a licensed electrician to fix the problem right away.

5) Tongue guards are absent or not adjusted on abrasive wheel grinders. Guards should be placed close to the wheel—within one inch. Safety glasses should also be nearby with a warning to always wear them when using grinders.

6) Not using hard hats at construction sites. In addition, you must also check that your hard hats follow the specifications of the American National Standards Institute.

7) Insufficient protection against falls. All walking or working surfaces that are 6 feet or higher from the ground and are used by employees should be equipped with a guardrail, safety net or other system to prevent or cushion falls.

8) Not enough portable fire extinguishers. Seek the assistance of your local fire department to determine the quantity, type and proper placement of fire extinguishers for your workplace. Then train your employees on how to use such.

9) Improper use of flexible electrical cords. Extension cords for home use were not built to meet the demands of a business environment. Opt for heavy-duty cords and make sure they are not routed through holes in walls, ceilings or floors. Remember that these cords should not replace fixed, enclosed wiring.

10) Neglecting to list work-related injuries and illnesses in an OSHA Form 300 log, In general, companies with 11 or more workers in certain industries such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, communications, public utilities, wholesale trade, most retail stores and health services are required to keep these records. If you are unsure if this law extends to you, contact your local OSHA office.

You can obtain the forms from your closest OSHA office or download them online.