The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was created to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees. Employers must provide a workplace that's free from serious hazards and that follows all OSHA requirements, such as these high-profile safety and health standards:
- Confined Spaces
- Forklift Safety
- Hazard Communication
- Injury & Illness Recordkeeping (OSHA 300 Log)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
OSHA compliance training is required for employees as part of several standards. View our training checklist to see what may be required for your business.
Which OSHA regulations are most commonly violated? Take a look at the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards in fiscal year 2018 (October 2017 through September 2018):
- Duty to have fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501) – view OSHA Fall Protection solutions
- Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) – view OSHA Hazard Communication solutions
- Scaffolds, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451) – view OSHA Scaffolding solutions
- Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134) – view OSHA Respiratory Protection solutions
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147) – view OSHA Lockout/Tagout solutions
- Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053) – view OSHA Ladder & Stairway solutions
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178) – view OSHA Forklift Safety solutions
- Fall Protection–Training, construction (29 CFR 1926.503) – view Fall Protection Training solutions
- Machines, general requirements, general industry (29 CFR 1910.212) – view OSHA Machine Guarding solutions
- Eye and face protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.102) – view Eye and Face Protection solutions
With the buzz surrounding OSHA's stepped-up enforcement, employers often wonder what their chances are for an inspection. While almost any employer could be inspected on any given day, there are certain factors that increase the likelihood of an inspection, including:
- Imminent danger — often triggered by a call from an employee or member of the public, a referral from another agency or a plain-view observation.
- Fatality/catastrophe — triggered by incidents involving a death, hospitalization, amputation, or loss of eye.
- Worker complaints and referrals — triggered by allegations of hazards or violations.
- Targeted inspections — triggered by National Emphasis Programs, and Regional and Local Emphasis Programs.
- Follow-up inspections — triggered by citations issued in the past. OSHA conducts follow-up inspections to ensure hazards have been abated at a specific facility and other locations of the same company where it believes similar hazards likely exist.
OSHA conducts approximately 40,000 inspections per year, resulting in adjusted penalties of approximately $35 million. See below for more facts and figures regarding OSHA inspection.
The following table shows how frequently different types of OSHA inspections generally occur. Employers should take note of programmed inspections, which OSHA conducts to target certain industries, hazards, or workplaces. In addition, employers should realize that reporting a serious injury to OSHA increases chances of either a phone investigation or onsite-inspection. While employers can’t prevent inspectors from showing up, they can be prepared by knowing the likelihood of an inspection.
|Federal OSHA Inspections — By the Numbers|
|Reason for inspection||Description||Frequency|
|National, regional, local emphasis programs||40-50% of all inspections.|
|Complaints||25% of all inspections|
|Referrals from other agencies||13% of all inspections|
|Follow-up from prior inspection||Varies|
|Severe injury reports||1,800 per year|
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