In December of 2012 I wrote about a Top Ten list that OSHA publishes each year on the violations that were most cited (Learning Organizations). Since then OSHA has published the list 2 additional times and if you take a quick look at the table below you’ll see not much has changed.
Although the top 10 offenders have changed places over the years, the actual names have not altered. To assess the level of movement each violation has undergone over the last 5 years, I decided to a more visual approach instead of just looking at the placing’s. Starting with the 10th most violated area in 2010, I worked my way up to number 1, highlighting each placing in the other 4 years.
At number 10 we have Machine Guarding. With the exception of 2012, Machine Guarding has remained fairly steady throughout the years as a number 9 or a number 10 offender.
Even more consistent has been General Electrical violations.
The number 8 ranked violation in 2010 was Powered Industrial Trucks. Although the total change from 8th place to 6th in the 5 years looked at in this table is anything but drastic, there does seem to a trend here with more violations occurring each year compared to the other offenders. Whether this is because industry is becoming less safe in this area, regulations have become stricter and industry hasn’t kept up, OSHA has gotten better at identifying this violation, or some combination of all three is unknown, but this seemingly upward trend is interesting either way.
Getting a bit more specific in the electrical world is Electrical-Wiring Methods at number 7. This violation has had a bit of a roller coaster 5 years, yet despite the movement has maintained a somewhat middle ground status on the Top Ten.
Control of Hazardous Energy appeared to be headed in the right direction in 2012 when it almost fell off the list after making top 5 in 2011. But it has climbed its way back to the top 5 for 2014. Identifying hazardous energy is fine and dandy, but if they aren’t controlled the only the game is won.
There is hope for the 2010 and 2012 top 5 finisher Ladders as it has been working its way down and made it to the number8 spot for 2014. Let’s hope we don’t see another Control of hazardous Energy for this one in 2015.
Consistency, consistency, consistency; things may not be getting any worst for Respiratory Protection, but at number 4 for the last 5 years, things aren’t getting any better either.
Entering the 2010 top 3 we start with Hazard communication. I think this one highlights the important role an active Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee can play in helping to secure a safe workplace.
Coming in at number 2 for 2010 is Fall Protection. This offender has managed to gain top honors since 2011. Holding the top spot for so long when so many regulations are quite clear on how to mitigate its hazards associated with working at heights is a bit discouraging.
And our final violator is Scaffolding. I’m holding on to a bit of hope that we will see this guy drop out of the top 3 in 2015.
To help illustrate what we have just gone over, I color coded 2010 from a light blue to a darker blue and then applied those colors to each violations. What resulted were a fairly distinct lighter zone on top and a darker zone on the bottom.
Although the reasons for each of these items showing up on OSHA’s Top Ten are complex, and we haven’t even looked at the actual number of violations, the lesson I am taking from these illustrations is that getting cited for a violation or knowing that you could get cited, is not reason enough for many companies to change. Without an internal responsibility system to develop a safety culture that strives to exceed regulations and not merely meet them or not get caught breaking them, we will see the same top ten in 2015.