The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is tasked with ensuring that employers in Pennsylvania and around the country obey safety regulations and provide their workers with the safety training and equipment they need. The violations handed out by OSHA inspectors reveal how seriously these responsibilities are taken by employers and the kind of infractions the agency is primarily concerned about, and the 10 most common OSHA citations were recently discussed during the National Safety Council Congress and Expo.
The data, which was gathered between October 2017 and September 2018, reveals that employers were most often cited for failing to provide their workers with adequate fall protection. This has been the most common OSHA violation for several years because falls are a leading cause of workplace deaths. Failing to warn workers about hazardous workplace conditions was the second most common reason for an OSHA citation.
Unsafe scaffolding and inadequate respiratory protection prompted OSHA inspectors to issue more than 6,000 citations, and lockout and tagout violations accounted for another 2,944. Other common causes of workplace safety violations included ladders that were too short or being used for purposes they were not designed for, forklift trucks that were faulty or being operated by untrained workers, inadequate fall protection training, damaged or missing machine guards and a lack of available eye and face protection.
Attorneys with experience in cases involving workplace injuries may suggest filing a personal injury lawsuit against employers as well as a workers' compensation claim when accidents were the foreseeable consequence of lax safety protocols or a general disregard for worker safety. Workers' compensation programs are designed in part to prevent this kind of litigation, but injured workers may file lawsuits against employers when gross negligence can be established. This is negligence so severe that serious injury or death became inevitable.