The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was in the news recently after they revised their Enforcement Weighting System (EWS), which assigns different values to their investigation and inspection categories. It uses a value of Enforcement Units, and the minimum weighting a category can receive is one EU. The EWS is used to rate the importance of areas, such as process safety management, chemical exposures, ergonomics, workplace violence, and temperatures.
The new EWS went into effect on October 1 for fiscal year 2020, and targets the Focus Four hazards, including falls, struck-by accidents, caught in/between accidents, and electrocutions. OSHA states that these are the main causes of workplace injuries and fatalities. Each was given three EUs, and OSHA field and area offices will be implementing these enforcement priorities. The new EWS follows OSHA’s announcement last summer that they were seeking over $687,000 in penalties from two Delaware contractors after an employee fell 40 feet from a scaffold and lost his life.
Fall Protection Violations
Between October 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019, OSHA issued thousands of citations, and the majority were for over 6,000 fall protection standard violations. These specify that employees working at six or more feet above lower levels need personal fall arrest systems, safety nets, or guardrails provided by their employers. In addition, all working/walking surfaces must be strong enough to support them.
There are also fall protection training standards of which there were 1,773 violations. Employers are required to train all workers exposed to fall hazards, including how to prepare, inspect, maintain, and take apart fall protection equipment, proper use and storage of the equipment, what the hazards are, and how to monitor systems in use. This training must also be well documented by employers.
OSHA’s ladder standards apply to job-made, fixed, portable, and adjustable ladders. Companies received over 2,300 violations during the same one-year period. Ladders need to be inspected and repaired frequently by workers that are qualified to do so. Employees should be trained to always maintain three points of contact with a ladder and be educated on the dangers of carrying tools or tool belts by hand while on a ladder.
OSHA’s scaffold standards were violated over 2,800 times, which also apply to cranes, derricks, and aerial lifts. This heavy equipment poses a hazard for electrical shocks, tip overs, collapses, and falls. Those on scaffolds that are 10 feet high or more need to use personal fall arrest systems and guardrails. Other regulations include frequent inspections and alerting workers on scaffolds if it needs to be moved. Workers should never stand items placed on scaffolding to reach something.
Vineland Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Injured Workers Receive the Compensation They Deserve
More regulations can lead to more OSHA citations, but worker safety is not a priority for many employers. If you were injured at work, the Vineland Workers’ Compensation lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help you with your Workers’ Compensation claim. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-414-0010. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.