Employers in Pennsylvania should never wait until an OSHA inspector comes by to do something about workplace safety. Employers must comply with standards at all times. Unfortunately, inspectors uncovered all kinds of safety violations in 2018, and OSHA has released a list of the most prominent ones in an effort to raise awareness.
The top violation was linked to fall protection. This does not just pertain to the construction industry. Employees may violate the rules of ladder safety or roofing safety. Employers may neglect to install guardrails, toe boards or warning signs. Second, many job sites violated the protocols for hazard communication. Some did not update safety data sheets while others failed to train workers on the safe handling of hazardous chemicals.
Respiratory protection guidelines were also frequently violated, putting workers in danger of exposure to harmful dust, gases and vapors. Many employers were found to neglect the OSHA Lockout/Tagout Standard. Without proper LOTO procedures, workers may be harmed by the release of hazardous energy from machines and equipment.
Many machines also require guards, but inspectors found places where employers failed to follow this. The unauthorized use of powered industrial trucks was another problem with workers under 18 operating forklifts, for example. Other job sites were cited for not providing adequate eye and face protection.
The workers' comp program exists to reimburse employees who are injured on the job regardless of who was at fault. While it is typically easier to file for these benefits than to file a personal injury claim, the benefits cover only medical expenses, short- or long-term disability leave and a percentage of lost income. In addition, employers have the right to deny payment if victims are to blame for the accident, so victims may need to appeal. This is why hiring a workers' comp attorney may be beneficial.