EHS & Waste Management

Top 10 Safety Issues for 2018 – OSHA Citations

By December 19, 2018 No Comments

OSHA has issued the top 10 safety issues that it has found in workplaces in 2018. Companies need to still drive safety awareness and improve their safety culture to protect workers and improve workplace safety.

This is OSHA’s top ten for 2018 with a comparison against 2017. We give some guidelines on how safety managers and EHS professionals can do to mitigate these risks.

#1 – Fall Protection (General Safety Requirements)

Highest occurrence again this year is fall protection, with over 7,200 citations, a 20% increase over 2017 which was 6,000 citations. Among the issues here are guard edges and rails that should be in place to prevent falls.

#2 – Hazard Communications

With 4,550  hazard communications is still an issue, again a large increase over 2018, which was 4,176, a 7% increase. However 2017 and 2018 show a marked decline over  previous years, where violations had run to over 5,500. This is positive news for EHS professionals as 8 quarters of decline in this violation can be registered, showing that EHS Managers efforts are reaping benefits.

#3 – Scaffolding Hazards

Just like 2017, scaffolding hazards is number three on the list. 2017 and 2018 citations in this category are very similar, at 3,300 approx. The reasons for this issue are generally scaffolding construction, lack of guardrails or fall protection, and employee access to scaffolding surfaces.

#4 – Respiratory Protection

At number four again for 2 years running is respiratory protection. This year, there were 3,118 incidents, 2017 had slightly lower at 3,097. A slight increase over 2017, therefore something that needs to have a focus going forward to ensure that EHS professionals get to grips with this issue. The main culprits for this citation include: failing to conduct medical examinations for workers who wear a respirator and failure to have a written respiratory safety program.

#5 – Lockout/Tagout Programs

Again a trend is showing here as this was number 5 in 29017 also with 2,877 in 2e017 and 2,991 in 2018. There’s a slight increase here also year on year so this needs to have a focus going forward.  Many of the lockout/tagout violations are a result of not properly training employees on the program and not conducting routine inspections for lockout/tagout procedures.

#6 – Ladder Safety

At number 6, ladder safety issues accounted for 2,812 citations, compared to last year’s numbers of 2,241. 2018’s number is greater than 2017 and a good deal hugher than the number in 2016 which was 2,624.

#7 – Powered Industrial Trucks

For organizations that are high users of powered industrial trucks, like manufacturing, distribution and warehousing this is  major issue. Again it ranks in the same position as in 2017. 2017 had 2,294 violations, 2017 had slightly lower at 2,162 violations. Training is the key to reducing this violation as lack of training is the highest cause of this violation.  All forklift drivers must be certified and properly trained to operate a forklift, as well as receive re-evaluation every three years to maintain their certification.

#8 – Fall Protection (Training-Related)

There were a reported 1,982 violations in this category this year. Unlike the number one violation that concerned general fall safety, this issue centers on training-related issues, so number 7 and number 8 on the list are both related to employee training. There must be a message here for EHS Managers. Basically, if companies do not have proper training programs and enforcement then fall safety and prevention are always going to be a major issue.

#9 – Machine Guarding

Failing one position to number 9 is machine guarding. But that does not tell the full story as the number of citations for this category increased from 2017. In 2017 there were 1,933 and 2018 came in at 1,972. The number of incidents still increased from last year’s 1,933, this is because the performance with regards to fall protection was poor which simply moved machine guarding down the list.

#10 – Eye and Face Protection

Eye and face protection didn’t make last year’s list. This year, there were 1,536 citations issued.

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