June is National Safety Month. OSHA has a number of guidelines that can help you keep your warehouse safe. However, many workplaces find themselves in violation of these guidelines when it comes time for inspection. Below are the top five OSHA violations in the light industrial field and a few tips on how you can prevent them in your workplace.
Hazard Communication Standards
Employers must communicate potential hazards to their employees. This includes being sure that each employee understands the hazard and how to avoid it. Each employer is also required to have labeling and safety data sheets available for their exposed employees. Additionally, each worker who is exposed to dangerous chemicals or other hazardous work materials should be trained thoroughly on how to handle them.
Providing Respiratory Protection
If there is a chance that your workers could breathe in hazardous materials in the workplace, OSHA requires you to provide respiratory protection for them. Millions of employees in the United States are required to wear respirators on the job for various reasons. They can help protect your workers against harmful dust, smoke, mists, gases, sprays, and insufficient oxygen. When a respirator is not used, these hazards can cause long-term health problems, including cancer, lung problems, certain diseases, and even death.
There are two types of respirators used in the workplace. To ensure you are in compliance with OSHA regulations, be sure you are using the correct equipment. Particulate respirators filter out airborne particles from the air you breathe in. Air-purifying respirators will filter out chemicals and gases. Airline respirators go a step further by using a compressed airline to provide each employee with their own clean air supply.
Control of Hazardous Energy
Certain energy sources, such as electrical, chemical, thermal, hydraulic, and other sources, can be potentially deadly in the workplace. Because of this, it is important for employers to follow OSHA protocol to avoid serious injuries on the job. To avoid violating these guidelines, it is important to know what the hazards in your workplace are and how to prevent them.
OSHA requires proper lockout and tagout procedures. This outlines specific actions employees need to take to control hazardous energy while servicing equipment. Employers should ensure each employee is trained on how to perform these tasks and be sure they understand the protocols. If a certain piece of machinery is locked or tagged out, your employees should know they are prohibited from restarting the equipment. Each employee should also be trained on how to isolate and control the energy to prevent injury. If there are new protocols introduced or anything has changed, each employee on the team needs to be retrained.
Duty to Provide Fall Protection
Falls are one of the most common workplace injuries, and they can often be serious. It is important for employers to set up a workspace that helps prevent employees from falling. OSHA regulations require employers to provide danger-free workspaces, keep floors clean and dry, provide personal protection equipment, and thoroughly train employees regarding hazards.
Some ways you can provide fall protection for your employees to avoid a violation include guarding holes in the floor using railings or floor hole covers. Harnesses, lines, handrails, safety nets, and stair railings are also commonly needed to help avoid falls on the job.
General Machine Requirements
Machines also need to have guards and railings added if there is a potential hazard for the employees. Moving machine parts can cause severe injuries and lead to amputations, burns, and even blindness. Safeguarding machines to avoid injury is a must. To prevent an OSHA violation, it is important to identify potential hazards and provide safeguarding for the machines. This can include guards, railings, and being sure dangers are clearly posted around machinery.
Part of maintaining a safe workspace is having the right team on your side. The staffing professionals at GoSource can help you find the right employees for the job at hand. Contact us to see how we can assist you in staffing your warehouse or manufacturing business.