In early January 2018, two workers died at a Wichita, KS, grain operation when they were engulfed in soybeans in a grain storage bin. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) cited the owner, Gavilon Grain, for, among other issues, failing to provide lifelines and fall protection for its employees, according to Safety and Health magazine.
“Moving grain acts like quicksand, and can bury
a worker in seconds,” OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille said in an agency press release.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had provided workers with proper safety equipment and followed required safety procedures to protect workers from grain bin hazards.”
The grain bin operator was cited for 12 serious, willful, and repeat violations; fined more than $507,000; and placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The fall protection citation was one of more than 7,000 that OSHA handed down during fiscal year 2018, making it the most frequently cited workplace safety violation for the eighth consecutive year, Safety and Health noted.
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OSHA’s Top 10
OSHA’s list of the top 10 violations of worker health and safety regulations is released annually at the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo, the world’s largest professional gathering for safety professionals.
In addition to fall protection in the number 1 spot, hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection and lockout/tagout violations once again rounded out the top five positions, Safety and Health reported. Eye and face protection was a newcomer to the list, replacing electrical/wiring methods.
“The Top 10 represents the most frequently cited standards, and they are a good place to start for the employer in identifying hazards in their own workplace,” Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, said during his presentation at the expo.
Here is the full list, in order, with OSHA standard details as summarized by Safety and Health:
- Fall protection, general requirements, standard number 1926.501: Designed to protect workers walking or working on horizontal or vertical surfaces with an unprotected edge or side above 6 feet in height. Outlines where fall protection is required and which systems are appropriate for particular situations. Includes construction and installation of safety systems and proper supervision of employees.Number of violations: 7,270
- Hazard communication, standard 1910.1200: Addresses chemical hazards produced in or imported into the workplace. Also governs communication of those hazards to workers.Violations: 4,552
- Scaffolding, 1926.451: Includes general safety requirements for scaffolding and responsibility of employers to protect workers from falls and falling objects. Covers working on or near scaffolds at heights of 10 feet or more.Violations: 3,336
- Respiratory protection, 1920.134: Offers information about establishing or maintaining a respiratory protection program. Includes respirator selection, training for use, medical evaluation, and respirator maintenance.Violations: 3,118
- Lockout/tagout, 1920.147: Outlines requirements for controlling electricity or other energy sources during service or maintenance of machines and equipment.Violations: 2,944
- Ladders, 1926.1053: Covers general requirements regarding ladders.Violations: 2,812
- Powered industrial trucks, 1920.178: Covers powered truck design, operation, and maintenance. Includes forklifts and motorized hand trucks, as well as operator training.Violations: 2,294
- Fall protection, training requirements, 1926.503: Addresses employers’ responsibility to provide training for workers in relation to fall hazards.Violations: 1,982
- Machine guarding, 1910.212: Related to protection of machine operators. Includes hazards caused at the machine’s point of operation, rotating parts, and flying chips or sparks.Violations: 1,972
- Eye and face protection, 1926.102: Addresses personal protective equipment for workers dealing with risks to the eyes or face, including chemical gases or vapors and flying particles.Violations: 1,536
OSHA’s Kapust, speaking to Safety and Health magazine, said that employers who are serious about mitigating hazards for their workers “may want to take the extra step to find out what’s the most hazardous in your industry and what we are seeing in terms of violations in your particular industry.
“And, of course,” he added, “OSHA does offer compliance assistance at no cost for employers that are interested in correcting hazards before an inspection.”
About Eastern Kentucky University’s Online Bachelor of Science In Occupational Safety
With courses in principles in occupational safety and health, construction safety, and safety and health program management, Eastern Kentucky’s Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety program can prepare students to prioritize the safety of America’s workforce and be leaders in the industry.
In addition, the online format allows students to pursue their degree while maintaining their home and career responsibilities. For more information, contact EKU now.
Most cited violations: Safety and Health
Kansas grain bin operator cited: OSHA press release
Top 10 list: Safety and Health
Kapust: Safety and Health