Failing to prevent OSHA violations can lead to problems on a worksite. If severe enough, a violation may lead to worksite closures and project delays. In nearly every case, it also raises concerns over liability for accidents and injuries. These violations can be avoided with proper planning and diligence. In this brief article, we’ll discuss the most common OSHA citations in Tennessee and how to avoid them. For a legal ally who will guide you through the inspection process and protect your business if you have been wrongfully cited, contact a Nashville OSHA defense attorney.
Related: 6 Tips for Handling an OSHA Citation
Fall Protection and Fall Protection Training
The two most common OSHA citations in Tennessee involve fall protection and training for fall protection. A fall from more than six feet in the air can be fatal or cause severe life-threatening injuries. Due to the fact that most of the work performed on a construction site happens more than six feet off the ground, OSHA mandates that there be adequate fall protection systems in place to prevent or stop falls once they happen. OSHA also mandates that everyone on the site is trained in fall protection methods and how to use the systems in place.
There were 70 citations for failure to have fall prevention systems. This means that many of the workers were at serious risk of being injured on the jobsite. This creates a major liability problem for contractors as anyone injured in a fall could have a case. If one of your employees is accusing you of failing to prevent a fall, ask a Nashville OSHA defense lawyer for legal help.
Handling abatements is another area where many construction companies get into trouble. When abatements occur, they are a serious problem for a project and must be dealt with quickly and effectively. It is not the abatement itself that is the problem, but the process that happens after it is finished.
OSHA mandates that abatements must be certified within 10 days of the violation. This is where incur citations. The abatements are finished, but companies fail to have them re-inspected and certified within the allotted time. If you disagree with an abatement certification violation, you can ask one of our Nashville construction lawyers to help you determine what to do next.
Abatement certification violations are one of the easier violations to fix. Better coordination is the key. By diverting resources to finish abatements faster and to schedule inspections, it is possible to complete the certification process within the 10 day period.
Aerial lifts can be a great way to handle work high up in the air, but they also pose a serious risk to the workers in those lifts. Specifically, falling from those heights can be fatal. Therefore, it is not surprising to find out that 59 citations were filed by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) for aerial lift work where workers were not wearing safety harnesses. The harness is for workers’ protection and should be enforced every time.
The surprising part of these violations is that an OSHA inspector caught them in the act. If construction companies are not enforcing aerial lift protections, how many violations are happening without them being caught? This problem can be easily fixed by requiring harnesses to be left in the lift and used every time. Internal checks to make sure that they are being used can also help with this problem. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the worker to use the appropriate safety gear when it is provided. Make sure that you have the right equipment where it needs to be so that workers can have what they need to be safe.
Nearly every reference to construction work involves workers wearing hard hats. Having a hard hat just makes sense when you are working in a place where hard objects can fall on your head. Unfortunately, there are many cases where OSHA inspectors have found construction workers not wearing proper head protection.
This is perhaps one of the easiest violation fixes that you could deal with. Make sure that everyone on the job site has a hard hat or other appropriate protection on at all times. You could institute a corrective system that applies corrective actions, like suspensions or penalties, for being caught without the proper equipment. It is a matter of making it more important to keep the equipment on than whatever benefit that comes from taking it off. Such a system is better than dealing with constant OSHA violations.
Related: An OSHA Guide to Head Protection
Working on scaffolding is inherently dangerous, which is why construction workers are supposed to be trained on scaffolding work. The specific procedures and rules for working on scaffolding are designed to help keep everyone safe, but may not be the most intuitive set of guidelines to follow. Still, it is in everyone’s best interest to ensure that workers are properly trained, as OSHA found 33 instances where they had not been properly trained to use scaffolding.
This raises serious safety issues. When there is an accident on scaffolding, it can lead to multiple injuries or needing to take down the scaffolding itself. The potential for injuries is very high and raises a lot of possible liability issues for contractors. Before any worker climbs the scaffolding, make sure that he or she is fully trained by someone who is fully qualified to train others on scaffolding work.
Dealing with OSHA violations can have a serious impact on your project and safety. Fortunately, resolving many OSHA violations is an easy and straightforward process. If you have questions about OSHA regulations or how to handle a violation, contact a Nashville construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.