Despite advances in safety technology and practice, construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. Every job site contains hundreds of potential hazards, in a landscape that changes on a daily basis.
Annually, almost a thousand people die due to construction accidents, representing 20.7% of total private industry fatalities. Tens of thousands more are injured, many of which result in permanent disability. Most of these accidents could have been prevented by proper adherence to OSHA safety guidelines.
The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) works to improve safety on the job site by defining minimum safety requirements. Nevertheless, many job sites consistently fail to meet these minimum requirements, resulting in fines, injuries, and fatalities. In 2019, OSHA issued 27,236 violations in construction alone, representing total fines of $86,301,091.
Contractors who want to improve their safety record and reduce the potential for accidents on their job sites should pay special attention to the most commonly cited OSHA violations each year. The top ten cited OSHA violations for the construction industry in 2019 (Oct 2018 to Sept 2019) were:
|Rank||Violation, Name & Number||Number of Citations||Number of Inspections||Total Penalties|
|1||Duty to have fall protection - 19260501||6,275||6,099||$32,822,973|
|2||General requirements - 19260451||2,841||1,412||$8,377,700|
|3||Ladders - 19261053||2,476||2,053||$5,965,107|
|4||Training requirements - 19260503||1,878||1,822||$2,853,546|
|5||Eye and face protection - 19260102||1,492||1,485||$3,648,408|
|6||General safety and health provisions - 19260020||906||847||$2,696,455|
|7||Head protection - 19260100||874||874||$1,901,955|
|8||Specific excavation requirements - 19260651||739||490||$2,926,077|
|9||Aerial lifts - 19260453||713||653||$2,104,603|
|10||Fall protection systems criteria and practices - 19260502||651||468||$1,699,444|
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, and this is reflected in the top OSHA violations. Numbers 1, 3, 9, and 10 are all directly related to failures in fall protection.
Another major cause of injury on job sites is missing or incorrect personal protective equipment (PPE). This also is reflected in the top OSHA violations for 2019, in numbers 5 and 7.
The data around both OSHA violations and industry injuries and fatalities should serve as motivation for all construction companies to do a better job of protecting their workers. For help reviewing your safety policies, equipment, and procedures, contact one of our experts today.