SAFETY SOLUTIONS: OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998
The OSHA Act requires employers to comply with OSHA standards and regulations and to protect employees from recognized hazards in the workplace. OSHA compliance officers regularly inspect workplaces to assure that employers are following these requirements.
Following are the statistics for the top 15 General Industry Violations for 1998, the latest year available (sources "Safety Currents & Best Safety Guide"):
|1910.212||(a)(1)||MachineGuarding-Types of Guarding||1,458|
|1904.002||(a)||Log & Summary of Occupational Injuries & Illnesses||1,177|
|(5)(a)(1)||General Duty Clause||1,117|
|1910.147||(c)(4)||Lockout/tagout-Written energy control Procedures||1,110|
|1910.151||(c)||FirstAid-Eyewash / emergency Shower Facilities||873|
|1910.215||(b)(9)||Abrasive wheel machinery-Exposure adjustment/safety guards||800|
|1910.23||(c)(1)||Guarding floor openings, platforms and runways||759|
|1910.147||(c)(1)||Lockout/tagout-Establishment of an energy control program||42|
Looking over these statistics, where would your establishment fall if an OSHA compliance inspector walked into your premises today?
OSHA recently released a fact sheet containing information on workers injuries, illnesses and fatalities in 1998.
5.9 million injuries/illnesses among private sector firms - about 200,000 fewer than in 1997 and the lowest on record.
The rate of injuries and illnesses for every 100 workers dropped from 7.1 in 1997 to 6.7 in 1998, continuing a six-year decline.
Since 1993, injury and illness rates have fallen 25 percent. Of the 5.9 million injury/illness cases: 5.5 million injuries; 392,000 illnesses - 65 percent of these were associated with repeated trauma.
Workers fatalities: 6,026 which was 212 fewer than in 1997 - a three percent decline in deaths.
Statistics are not just numbers, they reflect injuries; illnesses and fatalities that have torn a family apart and caused pain either physical, emotional or both to people.
Review your company's safety and health program periodically. Involve your employees. If they understand their daily behavior and thought processes, have a director correlation on not only their physical well-being, but that of their co-workers and family's, people will be motivated to comply with your company's written safety and health program.
Setting Safety Goals
Begin by assessing your particular situation, taking into consideration where, when and how most accidents occur. Ask foreman, supervisors and department heads how most safety problems arise. Consider hiring an ergononmics or chemical specialist to uncover hidden dangers. Monitor the work environment carefully for approximately one month, pinpointing hazards and formulating strategies. The following should always be considered when stating goals:
Keep goals simple - Stick to one or two specific goals that are easily understood by everyone involved. Remember you cannot resolve everything at once, and that it is better to be able to successfully resolve a few problems for a long period of time.
Be realistic - Participants have to be able to attain the set goals or they will become unmotivated.
Timing is everything - Objectives should correspond with peak injury periods.
Make goals measurable - Goals should relate to a specific activity or performance so you can track the results.
Make goals acceptable -Top management and supervisors must approve and participate. Both groups can help establish goals that are measurable and within company policy.
Designing the Program
Once you have established your objectives, you are ready to develop a plan of attack. Most safety programs require about six months to run at full capacity, taking into account education and training. More complex programs require more time, so be flexible.
Safety programs are often broken down into departments or areas to create a team environment. Remember TEAM (together everyone achieves more). To be successful, your safety program should be based on the following team format:
- Be sure every team member is capable of attaining the goals.
- Teams should consist of both supervisors and workers who perform similar tasks.
- Keep groups to a maximum of eight.
- Make sure participants are rewarded equally.
Dollars & Sense
You do not have to break the bank to run a successful safety program. Just remember that the money you initially invest is more than made up for in money saved on accidents. By making safety a Top Priority, everyone in your company benefits. More than just dollars saved with the implementation of a successful safety program, both productivity and morale will improve. That's why no matter how you slice it, a safe business is a better business. The DuPont Corporation has a safety slogan which states "You will reach the level of safety that you demonstrate you want to achieve". Safety statistics are showing improvement over the past few years. This is good news. Participate in some way everyday to make your workplace a safer place to be.
Neither The Plastics Distributor & Fabricator Magazine, nor KLW Enterprises Inc., is responsible for the contributed information or opinions contained in this magazine. All such information and opinions are those of the authors.
For more information, click on the Authors Biography at the top of this page.