By law, workplaces are required to provide a safe and healthful working environment for its employees. Every year, however, more than 4,500 workers are killed and about 3 million are injured due to workplace hazards.
Every October, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of the 10 most frequently cited safety hazards of the fiscal year. The list is compiled based on 32,000 inspections conducted at workplaces around the United States. OSHA states that, if this list of safety hazards was properly addressed, we would see a dramatic decrease in serious workplace accidents, including deaths, amputations and hospitalizations.
The following list of the top 10 safety citations can serve as a starting point for improving workplace safety:
- Lack of fall protection and worker training
- Inadequate communication regarding workplace hazards
- Scaffolding safety issues
- Lack of respiratory protection and training standards
- Improper lockout/tagout procedures
- Powered industrial trucks
- Ladder malfunctions or misuse
- Problems with machine guarding
- Electrical wiring problems
- Noncompliance to general electrical requirements
OSHA's list is far from comprehensive and regulations cover a wide range of hazards that are a risk to worker health and safety. "We urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale," the OSHA report states.
If you were injured at work, it is important to protect your right to workers' compensation benefits. And if a loved one has died because of a workplace accident, it is important to hold responsible parties accountable. Contact an attorney to discuss your options.