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Refocus Your Health and Safety Efforts with OSHA’s Annual Top Ten List for 2013

by Amy B. Cronin, President of Strategic Code Solutions

Each year, OSHA publishes the top 10 most frequently cited standards* (see list and links below) so employers can find and fix hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up.  In looking at the list from year to year, the same violations recur, although their ranking might vary slightly.  So it’s reasonable to assume that OSHA inspectors will target these areas when they enter a facility.  However, as ethical professionals, we know we aren’t fixing the hazards simply to avoid citations, but to protect our workforce.  OSHA is helping us to identify the top issues and areas of concern so that we can proactively focus our efforts and eliminate common hazards.  This list is useful from the perspective that we, as fire protection, safety & health professionals can easily identify an area or procedure that statistically may be an issue in our facilities but could be overlooked.  So, each year, OSHA publishes a list to help us identify the hazards…the rest is up to us.  And as you all know, there’s so much more to elimination of a hazard than just identification.  Evaluation and mitigation are just as difficult.

What if none of the items on OSHA’s list applies to your facility?  OSHA actually thought of that too.  You can go to Frequently Cited OSHA Standards, and generate a report on the most frequently cited federal or state OSHA standards by your NAICS code and the number of employees in your establishment.  You can generate a customized list as a starting point for your larger safety audit of your safety and health program.  However, you can start smaller immediately…look around and find a safety goal that’s easy to meet…find your low hanging fruit and make those efforts a priority.  What is low hanging fruit in your facility?  What is easy to accomplish that will make a difference? OSHA’s list is a good annual reminder to take a look around…have you taken a fresh look lately?  Or call a trusted consultant who is a safety professional peer to lend a fresh perspective.  Soon you’ll be celebrating one step closer to the safety nirvana.

  1. overloadFall Protection – 1926.501
  2. Hazard Communication – 1910.1200
  3. Scaffolding – 1926.451
  4. Respiratory Protection – 1910.134
  5. Electrical, Wiring Methods – 1910.305
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks – 1910.178
  7. Ladders – 1926.1053
  8. Lockout/Tagout – 1910.147
  9. Electrical, General Requirements – 1910.303
  10. Machine Guarding – 1910.212

*As of 10/25/13


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