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What are the top OSHA violations for construction sites?

Workplace safety is important to both employers and employees in all types of occupations. While the health and safety of employees should always be a concern, some occupations present more risks and dangers than others. For construction workers, everyday they face potential risks that could result in a workplace accident.

Since many dangers are present on construction sites, proper training and safety equipment are used. Moreover, construction sites in Massachusetts and other states across the nation are observed and regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA. In addition, this federal agency enforces federal safety and health legislation and cites employers or companies for violations.

What are the top OSHA violations for construction sites? According to a 2014 report of the top construction site violations, fall protection tops the list. The government requires the usage of a fall system when an employee is working at a height of 6 feet or more. Whether it's a roof or other surface, if the sides and edges are not protected, a fall protection system is required.

The second most violated safety standard is hazard communication. Employees must be adequately communicated with regarding the dangers of the chemicals used or produced in the workplace. They should also understand the health risks these chemicals could pose as well.

The third violation on the list concerns scaffolding. According to the OSHA, if there is scaffolding in a construction project, it is required that a qualified specialist designs the scaffolding. Employers are also required to prevent workers from falling off of scaffoldings that are taller than 10 feet. In addition, they need to also protect employees from falling objects.

The list also includes violations related to respiratory protection, use of powered industrial trucks, lockout mechanisms, ladder safety, electrical and wiring methods, machine guarding and general electrical requirements. OSHA defines the violations on the list as serious violations that are likely to cause serious injuries or kill someone and are hazards that an employer knew about or should have known about.

If investigation after a workplace accident uncovers an OSHA violation, an employee might be able to file a workers' compensation claim for their losses and damages. This could help them cover expenses such as medical bills, rehabilitation and lost wages.

Source: Constructiondive.com, "OSHA's top 10 job site safety violations in 2014," Sharon O'Malley, Jan. 4, 2014

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