OSHA publishes list of common dangerous workplace hazards

In an effort to curb the number of violations found in workplaces — and to promote general workplace safety and awareness — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration publishes an annual list of the most common causes of a dangerous workplace.

These violations are often seen in work environments in Massachusetts and across the country, and while it doesn’t necessarily represent the exact data figures produced through OSHA’s inspections of the past year, they should be on the radar of any business owner and/or safety professional.

According to OSHA, the most common workplace injury threat is a lack of fall protection. OSHA standards are clear in outlining when fall protection procedures should be in place, but 2011 still saw more than 7,000 workplace violations across the country. Fall protection considerations include proper construction and supervision in potential fall zones, which includes any area where an unprotected side or edge leads to a drop of more than six feet. Similarly, both scaffolding and ladders rank high on OSHA’s list of workplace hazards.

Coming in just behind fall protection is a lack of hazard communication, which is key to ensuring employee awareness of workplace hazards, as well as offering advice on how to handle those hazards. A number of hazards include industrial equipment, including the presence of proper safeguards on machinery. Industrial truck accidents are also common.

And respiratory threats due to improper air quality — and, at the same time, a lack of masks and other protective equipment — typically result in thousands of violations every year.

Source: NCS.org, “Examining the Top 10,” last accessed Dec. 4, 2012