The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued more citations for fall protection violations than any other type of workplace violation during fiscal year 2013. For the past several years, fall protection has appeared at the top of the list of most frequent violations.
The violation of the fall protection requirements may involve a lack of a safety net, failure to provide workers with fall protection body harnesses and shock absorbing lanyards or failure to install guardrails or cover holes through which workers can fall.
The list of violations was released recently at the 2013 National Safety Council Congress and Expo. The top 10 most frequently cited violations were:
- Fall protection, 8,241 violations
- Hazard mitigation, 6,156 violations
- Scaffolding, 5,423 violations
- Respiratory protection, 3,879 violations
- Electrical wiring, 3,452 violations
- Powered industrial trucks, 3,340 violations.
- Ladders, 3,311 violations
- Lockout/tagout, 3,254 violations
- Electrical general, 2,745 violations
- Machine guarding, 2,701 violations
These violations are often the cause workplace injuries that are entirely preventable. For instance, failure to ensure adequate fall protection is one of the most frequent causes of fall accidents in workplaces.
Federal safety official have sought to reduce falls by focusing on worker training, use of personal fall restraint systems and greater oversight of employees.
Employers can reduce the risk to workers by adhering to OSHA guidelines. These include personal fall restraint systems for workers at heights of 6 feet or more.
Falls also can be prevented by reducing clutter and debris, marking spaces that are hazardous, and illuminating workplaces.