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10 Common OSHA Violations in Manufacturing and How to Avoid Them

January 21, 2020

Workplace safety is a top priority for manufacturing plants. Injuries not only harm company productivity and reputation; they can also lead to hefty fines, lawsuits and months of headaches. The last thing any shift supervisor wants to see is anyone get hurt and the “Days Without Incident” poster reset to zero.

While it is nearly impossible to prevent all safety hazards in your facility, there are many steps you can take to prepare for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections. Here’s a list of some of the top-cited OSHA violations and how to fix them.

List of OSHA Violations in Manufacturing and How to Fix Them

OSHA Violation #1: Fall Protection

Standard Number: 1926.501

Fall protection involves the proper use of guardrails, safety net systems and fall arrest systems. Employers must provide the right type of fall protection equipment, properly install them and train workers in their use. When fall prevention systems can’t be used, employers need to provide personal fall arrest equipment (like harnesses and anchorage devices) to reduce the chance of injury or death if a worker does fall.

OSHA Violation #2: Hazard Communication

Standard Number: 1910.1200

Chemicals and toxic substances can pose danger to your employees. To ensure chemical safety, OSHA requires that employers provide identifying information and hazard warnings for all chemicals. Make sure that information is readily available to exposed workers and easy to understand. Host periodic safety training to ensure that your employees understand how to handle each chemical appropriately.

Download - Manufacturing Safety and Compliance Checklist

OSHA Violation #3: Scaffolding

Standard Number: 1926.451

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Scaffolding is a temporary platform used to work at a height above the ground. OSHA scaffolding requirements state that employees working more than ten feet above the ground must be protected from falls by guardrails or a fall arrest system. Scaffolding must also be properly constructed to prevent tipping. Have a qualified instructor teach your employees how to recognize hazards associated with scaffolding.

OSHA Violation #4: Lockout/Tagout

Standard Number: 1910.147

“Lockout/Tagout” is a safety procedure that involves placing a lock and tag on a piece of dangerous machinery. This process prevents the accidental startup of the machine until maintenance or repair work is complete. Ensure your employees abide by OSHA’s lockout/tagout guidelines to ensure that locks cannot be removed and the system in question cannot be inadvertently operated by unauthorized personnel.

OSHA Violation #5: Respiratory Protection

Standard Number: 1910.134

A respirator is a protective facepiece, hood or helmet that protects the wearer from breathing harmful airborne agents or contaminated air. Ensure that respirators are available for use and fit tightly (but comfortably) to the face. Your organization should also host a formal respirator program to teach employees how to utilize respirators correctly, as a respirator will only protect if it is used as the manufacturer intends.

OSHA Violation #6: Ladders

Standard Number: 1926.1053

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Falls from portable ladders are a leading cause of occupational fatalities and injuries in the U.S. OSHA dictates that ladder rungs must be in good repair, parallel to the ground and able to withstand weight up to maximum intended loads. Instruct employees to utilize common sense when using ladders and to maintain three points of contact (i.e. two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand) to minimize slips and falls.

Standard Number: 1910.178

Powered industrial trucks (i.e. “forklifts” and “lift trucks”) are used to raise, lower and move heavy materials in a warehouse. Ensure that your forklift operators are competent to operate machinery, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation. Trainees may operate a forklift under the direct supervision of a qualified supervisor.

OSHA Violation #8: Fall Protection – Training Requirements

Standard Number: 1926.503

One of the best ways to reduce fall-related injuries in the workplace is with proper employee education. OSHA states that employers must provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards while on the job. Make sure that your organization’s program helps employees recognize dangerous situations and how to minimize the risk of getting hurt.

OSHA Violation #9: Machine Guarding

Standard Number: 1910.212

Machine guarding (such as shields or protection devices) prevents bodily contact with hazardous areas of manufacturing equipment. OSHA requires that one or more methods of machine guarding be used to protect operators and employees from hazards such as rotating parts, flying chips or sparks. Make sure your manufacturing equipment utilizes appropriate guarding methods such as barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices and electronic safety devices.

OSHA Violation #10: Eye & Face Protection

Standard Number: 1926.102

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Personal protective equipment (like face and eye protection) are a must for manufacturing employees who are exposed to hazards such as flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors or dangerous light radiation. Ensure that face and eye PPE in your facility are durable, comfortable, cleanable and fit snugly. Face and eye PPE should not interfere with the wearer’s movements.

OSHA offers a variety of options for employers looking for compliance assistance. Learn more about the inspections process on OSHA’s Inspection Fact Sheet, or take advantage of OSHA’s on-site consultation program which provides individualized assistance to small businesses at no cost.

For more information on maintaining compliance in your manufacturing facility, contact the regional OSHA office nearest you. Compliance assistance specialists can provide robust outreach and education programs to your employees and workers.

Your Manufacturing Safety and Compliance Checklist is Here!

Even with safety standards and compliance regulations in place, manufacturing plants can still be dangerous and pose risk to workers. Use the Manufacturing Safety and Compliance Checklist to take a proactive approach to risk management, injury mitigation and illness in your facility. By focusing on safety, your organization will be better protected from equipment damage, OSHA fines, workers’ compensation claims and recovery costs.

Are you ready to take manufacturing inspections to the next level? Ace your next OSHA inspection with AkitaBox, a compliance-driven software designed to automate your inspection routes and improve your bottom line. Learn more about the benefits of AkitaBox’s compliance application here

Meaghan Kelly

Former marketing content copywriter for AkitaBox.

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