OSHA Violations Connected to Construction Accidents
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency established to “ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” Enabled by the OSH Act, the agency can promulgate rules and regulations concerning workplace health and safety and enforce those regulations by issuing citations and fines for violations. Such penalties vary according to the seriousness of the violation, ranging from roughly $13,000 per incident on the low end to over $130,000 on the high end for willful or repeated violations. Our attorneys explain what employers must do to stay compliant.
Employer Responsibilities Under OSHA
OSHA promulgates detailed health and safety regulations specific to each industry sector. However, under the OSH Act, all employers have the following general responsibilities to their workers:
- Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act.
- Examine workplace conditions to make sure they conform to applicable OSHA standards.
- Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.
- Use color codes, posters, labels or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
- Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.
- Employers must provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
- Employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must develop and implement a written hazard communication program and train employees on the hazards they are exposed to and proper precautions (and a copy of safety data sheets must be readily available).
- Provide medical examinations and training when required by OSHA standards.
- Post the OSHA poster (or the state-plan equivalent) in a prominent location within the workplace to inform employees of their rights and responsibilities.
- Refrain from discriminating or retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the OSH Act.
The Most Common OSHA Violations in the Construction Industry
According to the latest OSHA statistics, a total of 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018. The most common causes of those deaths (roughly 20% of the overall total) are referred to as the “fatal four” of the construction industry:
- Falls: 338 of 1,0008 deaths in construction (33.5%)
- Struck by object: 112 (11.1%)
- Electrocutions: 86 (8.5%)
- Caught-in/between: 55 (5.5%)
The 10 most frequently violated OSHA standards and the industries in which they occurred for the latest year available (2019) were:
- Fall protection, construction
- Hazard communication standard, general industry
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
- Control of hazardous energy, general industry
- Respiratory protection, general industry
- Ladders, construction
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry
- Fall protection-training requirements
- Machine and machine guarding, general requirements
- Eye and face protection
While the construction industry statistically is the most dangerous for workers, the majority of the most frequently cited OSHA violations above are in the “general industry” and “general requirements” categories — indicating that the risk of work-related injuries due to OSHA violations are common and widespread.
Contact a New York and Long Island Construction Accident Attorney
If you have been injured on the job due to an OSHA violation, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For more information, please contact a New York and Long Island construction accident attorney at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco by using our online form or calling us at 877-693-2529 (New York City), 516-745-5666 (Garden City), 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma), or 631-399-0400 (Shirley/Riverhead).