Your company should be thoroughly covered with a written safety program whether you have 1 employee or 1,000 employees. The emphasis on safety in the culture of your business can help you avoid these fines. Get the manuals and documents you need to make training fast and easy and implement them regularly.

The Top 10 for FY 2015* are:

  1. Fall Protection (1926.501) – 6,721
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 5,192
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 4,295
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,305
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 3,002
  1. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,760
  2. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,489
  3. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,404
  4. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,295
  5. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) – 1,973

*Preliminary figures as of Sept. 8, 2015

A common mind set for many small construction companies and independent contractors is that they do not see a need for a safety program, because they have so few employees. Every year OSHA Posts it’s compilations of top citations and dollar amounts per inspection. I want you to take a look at the comparison for the 2007 list and hopefully realize just how important safety is. It’s not only important. It’s the law. If you need more information on any of the subjects listed below, let me know.

#10 – Hazard Communications

Number of Inspections: 623
Number of Citations: 1311
Total Amount Fined: $175,265.00
Average Fine: $281.00

Hazard communication is very important to the health and safety of your employees. You need to have a list of all hazardous materials on your jobsite. This list must be posted for all employees to see. They must be trained in the proper use of personal protective equipment. Material safety data sheets must be on site. These are just a few reasons why companies get fined.

#9 – Training

Number of Inspections: 1488
Number of Citations: 1557
Total Amount Fined: $666,537.00
Average Fine: $447.00

Training should be a top priority for any company, but sadly it isn’t, your employees need to be trained in every aspect of their job. From tool safety, operating equipment, the use of personal protective equipment, the list goes on. When you hire someone, take the time to train to them. It will save you time and money in the long run.

#8 – Training Requirements

Number of Inspections: 1055
Number of Citations: 1158
Total Amount Fined: $491,164.00
Average Fine: $465.00

Training requirements in any industry are vital to the health and safety of the employees, as well as the proper running of the company. Have regular safety meetings; train all employees in their specific jobs. It might be fall protection and proper equipment needed or handling hazardous materials, having M.S.D.S. sheets, and the use of respirators. Safety training is very important. OSHA is very clear on training.

#7 – Head Protection

Number of Inspections: 1461
Number of Citations: 1464
Total Amount Fined: $747,099
Average Fine: $511.00

Head protection is very important on any jobsite; you must wear a hard hat. All sorts of things fly around a jobsite, from heights, trucks, to just walking into something. If your people are not wearing their hard hats, you risk being cited and fined.

#6 – Wiring Design and Protection

Number of Inspections: 851
Number of Citations: 1042
Total Amount Fined: $461,269.00
Average Fine: $542.00

Regulations require that the employer use either ground fault circuit interrupter equipment or an assured equipment grounding conductor program. The most common electrical hazard on today’s construction sites is from the ground fault electrical shock. Electrical accidents are usually caused by unsafe equipment and / or installation, unsafe workplaces caused by environmental factors, and unsafe work practices.

#5 – Ladders

Number of Inspections: 1783
Number of Citations: 2362
Total Amount Fined: $1,245,494.00
Average Fine: $698.00

I’ve seen this many times, guys using ladders that are broken or bent, or have missing rungs; it seems that safe work practices go out the window when you’re on a ladder. You’re not allowed to do any work from a ladder. It is designed to get you from the ground to a certain height, and aid you in getting back down. Once again training is needed. You need to know the rules.

#4 – Aerial Lifts

Number of Inspections: 1259
Number of Citations: 1432
Total Amount Fined: $1,210,054.00
Average Fine: $961.00

I see guys trying to take shortcuts all the time. It’s so dangerous. Only qualified persons should perform hoisting and lifting operations. Riggers work with hoisting tackle and gear that consists of hooks, hook blocks and balls, eye-rings, webbed netting, slings, cradles, chains, wire rope cable, various synthetic ropes, shackles, couplers, and other fasteners, fittings, and assorted attachments. Before starting any lifting operations, a meeting should be had by all involved personnel to review the “LIFT PLAN”. This plan should include a detailed sketch of the process that will serve as a visual guide for what is expected to happen.

#3 – Fall Protection

Number of Inspections: 4667
Number of Citations: 5148
Total Amount Fined: $5,417,592.00
Average Fine: $1,160.00

OSHA takes fall protection very seriously; Fines and citations can come from a variety of issues. Working at height can be very dangerous. Safety must be your primary concern. The following are a few reasons why companies get fined – not properly constructing or installing safety equipment; not properly training employees in the use of fall protection equipment and not using safe work practices.

#2 – Specific Excavation Requirements

Number of Inspections: 770
Number of Citations: 1362
Total Amount Fined: $1,625,293.00
Average Fine: $2,110.00

Excavations on a job site change daily and you need to keep up with all the safety rules and regulations. There are many reasons why companies get fined. I am giving you a few examples. This is by no means a complete list. Some reasons include not having the proper permits, not meeting access or egress contingencies and even not performing daily inspections.

#1 – General Requirement

Number of Inspections: 3025
Number of Citations: 8147
Total Amount Fined: $6,601,703.00
Average Fine: $2,182.00

The average construction site is an ever-changing, bustling place that can pose many hazards for employees. If the project is up to speed, you can find workmen from several different trades working in the same general vicinity, within close proximity of others. The hazards encountered on a jobsite can be from hand tools, power tools, or from the operation of heavy equipment. There are the risks from falls, improper excavation procedures fire, unsafe breathing atmospheres, and the hazard of electrical shock. All of these situations are potentially dangerous and possibly lethal, if proper safety measures are not followed. Considering the fact that 20% of all work site fatalities are related to construction, the extra time it takes to create safe work practices is well worth the effort.

Grand total there were 12,434 Inspections performed by OSHA, with 39,427 Citations given. OSHA fined a whopping grand total of $29,254,984.00 to Construction Companies and Contractors with LESS THAN 10 EMPLOYEES. That’s an average of $2,352.00 Per Fine Per Inspection.

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