OSHA's 'Top 10 List' Points to Priority of Fatal Falls Hazards

For many years, the General Requirements for Scaffolding rule has been by far OSHA's most violated standard, and this year the agency has issued even more citations for the rule than last year, according to an analysis of data presented by OSHA and the National Safety Council (NSC).

Enforcement of Scaffolding (1910.451) is likely to remain a high OSHA priority, as violations of the rule can lead to fatal workplace falls. Fatal falls shot up 17 percent in 2004 the highest annual total every reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its annual fatality census.

This year, as last year, Fall Protection, general requirements, was the third-most frequently violated OSHA standard and the number of violations in 2005 shot up more than 15 percent from last year, another possible indication of how seriously OSHA takes fall hazards. The data also may suggest that fall hazards remain all-too common in the U.S. workplace.

OSHA released the 10 most-frequently cited standards thus far in 2005 at the NSC's Congress and Expo, as it did last year.

The only new standard on the list year is Ladders (1926.1053), yet another standard tied to fall hazards. Ladders edged into 10th place and bumped out Mechanical Power Transmissions Apparatus, ninth on last year's list.

Overall, the number of violations among the 10 most-cited standards is 40,463, according to the agency, and the top three standards accounted for approximately half of this total.

Comparison between the data presented by OSHA this year and last year is complicated by the fact that while this year's list included information from Oct. 1, 2004, through Aug. 30, last year's period was 2 months shorter.

However, after correcting for the longer time frame in this year's figures, scaffolding violations rose 6 percent from last year to 8,130 in 2005. This year and last year, Hazard Communication was second on the top 10 list, and violations also rose 6 percent from last year.

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