In 2014, the Industrial Truck Association founded National Forklift Safety Day to highlight the safe use of forklifts. An additional motivation was to serve as an annual reminder of the value of training and equipment checks in every industry that relies on forklifts. Forklifts are an essential piece of equipment in many workplaces. For example, warehousing and manufacturing depend on forklifts. These vehicles make work more efficient. However, they can also pose serious hazards to those operating or working near them. With this in mind, we can prevent forklift hazards. Properly trained workers that follow safe practices are the best prevention.
Steps that protect workers on forklifts
Always wear seatbelts when operating a forklift.
Never exceed the rated load, and ensure loads are balanced.
Make sure you have enough clearance when raising and loading materials.
Watch for pedestrians and observe speed limits.
Keep a safe distance from the platform and ramp edges.
OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts page provides additional ideas for keeping workers safe. Every year, forklift accidents result in an average of 85 deaths and 34,900 serious injuries. Therefore, training is vital in reducing the number of injuries and deaths. All employers have an important role in the safety of their employees.
Some additional safety measures for operating forklifts
Dress For Safety
Know Your Forklift
Conduct Daily Forklift Safety Checks
Never Operate a Damaged Forklift
Only Work in Well-Lit Locations
Never Touch The Mast During Forklift Operations
Refuel with Caution
Never Stand Beneath a Forklift Load
OSHA provides specific safety rules for operating forklifts. Therefore, employers are expected to conduct training for all employees working forklifts. Then operators must pass a test and recertify at least once every three years. Finally, ongoing supervision is essential to ensure forklift safety rules are enforced so that employees are kept safe.
In the ongoing quest for maximum safety in the workplace, OSHA’s annual release of their top 10 violations can offer employers a sense of which tasks and maneuvers may hold unexpected risk.
While you’re hopefully aiming to assess and avoid risk across the board at your company, targeted lists like this can be a great way to remind you of areas of concern you might have missed otherwise. After all, these violations are common for a reason, and the likelihood is that employers and workers alike are giving these regulations too little thought.
In this blog, we’ll go through the top 10 OSHA violations for 2021 in detail, offering further information about each violation as well as actionable tips for protecting your employees from these hazards.
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501)
With 5,295 violations noted, this is the most violated requirement on OSHA’s list. This requirement is an umbrella for many more specific fall prevention requirements, including the inclusion of guard rails and toe-boards, hole covers, and safety nets or harnesses, depending on the circumstances.
While some falls may be relatively harmless, a fall always has the potential to do serious harm or even cause death, especially in situations where workers are performing high above the ground. To ensure your employees’ safety, make sure any holes are either covered or guarded by a rail, any open-sided, elevated floor or platform is protected by a guard rail and toe-board, and (even if there’s no elevation involved) any situation where a worker could fall onto or into dangerous machinery is likewise safeguarded.
2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
Although respiratory dangers are commonplace on a variety of worksites, 2,527 violations were noted by OSHA in the past year. In order to prevent diseases and other harm that can result from workers breathing contaminated air, OSHA requires that employers provide the right respirator for each specific hazard to every employee onsite.
This may include everything from an air-purifying respirator to a positive pressure respirator or even a supplied-air respirator. To ensure you’re supplying your team with the appropriate respirators for the task at hand, make sure to familiarize yourself with the OSHA standard with proper respiratory safety training.
3. Ladders (1926.1053)
If you’re new to following OSHA requirements, you might be surprised at just how complicated the rules about ladders can get. But unlike home use, jobsite ladder use is serious business — so serious that 2,026 people got it wrong this year.
There are ladder safety details to watch out for, but the most pertinent are these: portable ladders should support four times the intended load, while fixed ladders must support a minimum of 250 pounds on each side; rungs and cleats must be 10-14 inches apart; two or more ladders must not be tied together or stacked to add length; and ladder rungs should be level, parallel, and evenly-spaced.
4. Scaffolding (1926.451)
Like ladder use, scaffolding use calls for a wide range of requirements, from the broadly applicable to the minute. With 1,948 violations in 2021, it’s clear that many employers aren’t aware of just how detailed scaffold safety requirements can get.
Again, the most pertinent requirements have to do with how much weight the different elements of the scaffolding can hold (4-6 times the maximum expected load) and the prevention of falls through guard rails and appropriate planking amount. OSHA also notes that scaffolding must be designed by someone qualified and be constructed in accordance with the design.
5. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
OSHA reported 1,947 violations of the hazard communications requirement this year, which is shocking when you consider that communicating a hazard is the first step to protecting employees from it.
In this case, OSHA is specifically regulating the communication of chemical hazards, and both the type of chemical and circumstances of its use or transportation have a bearing on the specific rules about communication. For example, when workers are only handling chemicals in properly sealed containers, employers only need to ensure that the labels on the containers when they arrive aren’t tampered with or removed, rather than labeling them themselves.
6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
This requirement, which was violated 1,698 times in 2021, refers to the control of what OSHA calls ‘hazardous energy,’ in which the starting-up of certain machines or release of stored energy within the machines can harm workers. Specifically, this requirement covers the maintenance and servicing of such equipment.
OSHA’s requirements on this get pretty complex, especially as they pertain to what they don’t cover (such as agriculture and construction equipment), but two of the main rules are, broadly: there needs to be a lockout/tagout safety protocol for servicing these machines and employees need to be trained on that protocol.
7. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503)
This specific subsection of the general fall protection requirement was violated 1,666 times in the past year, which makes the general fall protection violations make a little more sense. If employees aren’t trained on preventing falls, it stands to reason that they’ll overlook the necessary requirements for keeping themselves and their coworkers safe from falls.
Essentially, this requirement holds that workers need to be trained on the fall prevention requirements of their jobsite, that they need to pass a certification proving that they’ve learned the necessary elements of the OSHA requirements, and that they must retrain if their employer ever has reason to believe they’ve either forgotten or never properly learned the skills in the original training.
8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
Like the respiratory protection requirement, the face and eye safety standard requires employers to provide and ensure workers wear the appropriate protection for any task that would expose them to eye or face hazards, including sparks, molten metals, flying particles, chemical gases, or potentially harmful light radiation.
This one seems like an easy pass, but OSHA noted 1,452 violations in 2021. Make sure you’re prepared for every element of your next project by obtaining the correct protective gear for your employees.
9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
If you use electric or internal combustion engine-powered trucks on your worksites — that includes forklifts, tractors, and platform lift trucks — make sure you follow OSHA’s forklift safety requirements, so you don’t wind up like the 1,420 employers who were in violation over the past year.
These requirements cover the design, maintenance, and operation of these vehicles, as well as fire prevention. Some of the requirements cover where and how these trucks should be used, what circumstances to avoid, and how they need to be marked to identify any post-factory attachments, among other concerns.
10. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
OSHA reported 1,113 violations of this requirement in 2021, indicating that far too many employers aren’t taking their workers’ safety seriously when it comes to machinery onsite.
1910.212 addresses the various kinds of machine guards that might be used on a worksite, including barrier guards, electronic safety devices, and two-hand trippers, and requires that the appropriate guard be used on any machine that may present a hazard in the form of flying particles, rotating parts, or nip points.
Individual OSHA violations may sometimes seem like an irritation rather than an indication that your worksite is unsafe—after all, many of these regulations are extremely specific—but OSHA creates these standards for a reason. They’re trying to help you keep your employees safe, which is of course better for your business in the long run.
Each year when the 10 violations are announced, it’s a great opportunity for your business to audit your practices, evaluate your emergency plans, and ensure your workers are properly trained for the hazards they face on the job.
Ready to host refresher training? National Safety Compliance makes OSHA safety training easy. Our simple-to-use video training kits include compliant training videos, lecture presentations, and printable assets to ensure your managers, supervisors, or human resources directors have everything they need to host a successful training session.
Keeping up with labor laws can be a daunting task. Changes seem to occur almost daily. And while this isn’t actually the case, it can sure feel that way. Changes to federal labor laws do not happen quite as frequent as those at the state level as a general rule. But in times of uncertainty, as we experienced with Covid in 2020, even federal labor laws can be enacted quickly as we saw with the passing of the CARES Act. The laws created by the CARES Act were of a temporary nature with many of the requirements ending in December of 2020. Most changes to labor laws are not temporary though. We find states often update various laws throughout the year. Some of those changes are considered minor such as address changes, website address changes, or department personnel changes. Other changes are considered major such as increases in minimum wages, newly enacted laws, and major changes to the text of an existing law.
Midyear often brings about many of those changes. The most common change is a state’s Minimum Wage. Although the Federal Minimum Wage has not increased since July 2009, many states, cities, and counties have a higher minimum wage. (Employers are required to pay workers the higher amount.)
The following states have mid-year minimum wage increases:
To keep up with the most current changes to the federal labor laws as well as your state labor laws you can sign up for a free email update service. Simply click here to enroll: https://www.nsccompliance.net/llp-updates/
On March 14, 2020 OSHA issued a temporary fit guidance for respiratory protection for Health Care Providers (HCP) in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The guidance was in response to a memorandum by the President and was done to ensure HCP have proper and adequate access to N95 or greater respiratory protection.
On March 11, 2020 President Trump authorized the Memorandum
on Making General Use Respirators Available. In the memorandum President Trump
stated “It is the policy of the United States to take proactive measures
to prepare for and respond to public health threats, including the public
health emergency involving Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which was
declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services on February 4,
2020.” He further stated “We must ensure that our healthcare providers have
full access to the products they need. …Unfortunately, at present, public
health experts anticipate shortages in the supply of personal respiratory
devices (respirators) available for use by healthcare workers in mitigating
further transmission of COVID-19.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Secretary
of Health and Human Services shall take all appropriate and necessary
steps with respect to general use respirators to facilitate their emergency use
by healthcare personnel in healthcare facilities and elsewhere… Additionally,
the Secretary of Labor shall consider all appropriate and necessary steps to
increase the availability of respirators.”
OSHA has provided temporary guidance for 29 CFR § 1910.134,
regarding required annual fit-testing which took effect March 14th and
remains in effect until further notice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
currently recommends that Health Care Providers (HCP), who are providing direct
care of patients with known or suspected COVID-19, practice infection control
procedures. These include engineering controls (e.g., airborne infection
isolation rooms), administrative controls (e.g., cohorting patients, designated
HCP), work practices (e.g., handwashing, disinfecting surfaces), and
appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, face
shields or other eye protection, and gowns. Appropriate respiratory
protection is required for all healthcare personnel providing direct care of
these patients. (For additional guidance, see COVID-19 Hospital
Preparedness Assessment Tool, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hcp-hospital-checklist.html.)
OSHA recommends HCP employers follow existing CDC
guidelines, including taking measures to conserve supplies of these respirators
while safeguarding HCP. One such measure is that healthcare employers may
provide HCP with another respirator of equal or higher protection, such as N99
or N100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate
filters or cartridges, or powered air purifying respirators. They may also change
the method of fit testing from a destructive method (i.e., quantitative) to a
non-destructive method (i.e., qualitative).
Workers should visually inspect the N95 respirator to
determine if the structural and functional integrity of the respirator has been
compromised. Over time, components such as the straps, nose bridge, and nose
foam material may degrade, which can affect the quality of the fit and seal. If
the structural and functional integrity of any part of the respirator is
compromised, or if a successful user seal check cannot be performed, discard
the respirator and try another respirator.
OSHA field offices should use their own discretion regarding
enforcement of the annual fit testing requirement as long as employers:
Make a good-faith effort to comply with 29 CFR § 1910.134;
Use only NIOSH-certified respirators;
Implement CDC and OSHA strategies for optimizing the supply of N95 filtering facepiece respirators and prioritizing their use;
Perform initial fit tests for each HCP with the same model, style, and size respirator that the worker will be required to wear for protection against COVID-19;
Inform workers that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 filtering facepiece respirators to preserve and prioritize the supply of respirators for use in situations where they are required to be worn;
Explain to workers the importance of performing a fit check each time they put it on to make sure they are getting an adequate seal from their respirator;
Conduct a fit test if they observe visual changes in the employee’s physical condition that could affect respirator fit and explain to workers that, if their face shape has changed since their last fit test, they may no longer be getting a good facial seal with the respirator and, thus, are not being adequately protected; and,
Remind workers they must inform their supervisor or their respirator program administrator if the integrity and/or fit of their N95 filtering facepiece respirator is compromised.
reciente brote del mortal Coronavirus ha causado mucha preocupación en todo el
mundo. La nueva infección respiratoria se ha extendido rápidamente desde el
primer brote en la ciudad de Wuhan, provincia de Hubei, China, hasta 13 países.
El número de casos sospechosos reportados (sin caso confirmado) es actualmente
de 41 al 31 de enero. Por esta razón, la Organización Mundial de la Salud ha
declarado el brote como una emergencia mundial de salud pública.
No se sabe mucho sobre el virus, pero los Centros para el Control de
Enfermedades y otras agencias de salud y seguridad están trabajando las 24
horas para descubrir cómo se propaga la enfermedad, las formas en que se
presenta y otras características asociadas con el brote. El objetivo final es
controlar la propagación del virus y prevenir futuras infecciones.
A la luz de esto, OSHA ha lanzado un recurso en línea sobre el brote de
coronavirus con enlaces a los CDC y orientación sobre prevención, datos rápidos
sobre el brote e información sobre cómo prevenir las exposiciones. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/novel_coronavirus/index.html