The manufacturing industry is expansive and encompasses everything from chemical manufacturing to food processing. As manufacturing involves many different workflows and companies, federal regulators frequently cite it as one of the most hazardous industries for employees.
Failing to be in compliance and violating safety standards can be very costly to the lives of your employees and the livelihood of your business. You not only need to protect the health and safety of your workforce, but also the reputation of your business.
That’s why we’ve outlined the top 10 OSHA violations in the manufacturing industry from 2018 and provided tips on how to avoid them.
Standard: 1910.212, 219 – General Requirements and Mechanical Power-transmission Apparatus
Number of Citations in 2018: 2,048
Heavy machinery is an essential part of any manufacturing facility, but pose as one of the top safety hazards in the manufacturing industry. Moving machine parts have the potential to cause serious workplace incidents. Unless proper machine guard techniques are used, workers could suffer crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness.
Machine guards protect employees from hazards created by a machine’s ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks. Using the steps below, you can implement safeguards against machine hazards.
Standard: 1910.147 - The Control of Hazardous Energy
Number of Citations in 2018: 1,356
Working near or operating heavy machinery also exposes workers to hazardous energy hazards.
Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if its energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to use LOTO procedures during maintenance activities can include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing of body parts.
To achieve compliance with LOTO standards, manufacturers must develop, implement, and enforce an energy control program.
Employees need to be trained to ensure that they know, understand, and follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures. This training must cover at least three areas:
It’s also important to only use lockout/tagout devices that are authorized for the particular equipment or machinery. Finally, these devices should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good working condition.
Number of Citations in 2018: 1,312
Manufacturing employees that work in areas where chemicals are used, distributed, or produced are required to comply with OSHA’s HAZCOM standard.
This standard was developed to ensure that manufacturers communicate certain information regarding chemical hazards. Employers must develop and maintain a written HAZCOM program that lists any hazardous chemicals used in the workplace and includes safety data sheets (SDSs) pertaining to these chemicals.
Examples of hazardous chemicals that are commonly found in manufacturing environments include cleaning solutions, battery acid, and flammable substances such as ethanol.
Employers must make SDSs accessible to employees in their work area for each hazardous chemical.
HAZCOM training should teach employees how to move, load, and use these chemicals safely. It is important for you to track employee training in hazard communication in order to avoid an OSHA citation.
Number of Citations: 1,246
It’s not surprising that respiratory protection violations were included in 2018’s top ten list. Respiratory protection is the most technically complex categories of personal protective equipment (PPE).
For example, there are many factors that affect the correct choice of respiratory equipment. Manufacturers must consider the form of the hazard (such as gas or dust), the toxicity and concentration of contaminants, exposure times, the tasks being undertaken by employees, and any risks such as the potential for lack of oxygen or flammable agents.
When it comes to respiratory protection, manufacturers should keep in mind that one size does not fit all and each workplace has its own needs.
Some of the most common factors that lead to non-compliance with OSHA’s respiratory protection standards include:
Standard: 1910.303, 1910.305 – General Requirements and Wiring Methods
Number of Citations: 1,048
In manufacturing environments, everyone needs to be aware of the hazards that can arise when working around electrical or energized equipment. Workers need to know how to avoid an arc flash, electrocution, overload or shock from occurring.
The following tips can help manufacturers avoid electrical violations:
Number of Citations: 863
Over the past few years, violations involving the use of Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs) have been increasing. This is why following forklift regulations is a common warehouse safety tip. To address this trend, OSHA currently has implemented powered industrial trucks regional emphasis programs in 28 states. This means that if you’re selected for an OSHA inspection, it’s likely that your compliance officer will review your PIT program while they are onsite -- no matter the initial purpose of the inspection.
The following items are the most common violations noted by OSHA inspectors:
Standard: 1926.100, 1926.102 – Head, Eye and Face Protection
Number of Citations: 432
Manufacturers face many challenges when it comes to PPE compliance. For example, workers in metal manufacturing can be put in situations where they need to remove their hardhats to don a welding helmet or to add a face shield as they shift between different work tasks. In an effort to simplify the inefficiency of switching between different types of PPE, manufacturing safety professionals are having to select and ensure PPE is consistently used in a way that not only protects workers, but also does not cause compliance issues and inefficiencies.
Manufacturers need to train employees to use PPE that is standardized, constant, and appropriate to the tasks performed. Workers need to know when and what types of PPE are necessary, its limitations, as well as how to properly care, use, store, and discard the equipment.
Number of Citations: 349
Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. Last year, U.S. business paid more than $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers from noise.
Fortunately, there are several ways to control and reduce worker exposure to noise.
Engineering controls involve modifying or replacing equipment. Engineering controls can also involve or making other physical changes at the noise source or in its surroundings to reduce workers' exposure. Examples of inexpensive, yet effective controls include some of the following: selecting low-noise emitting tools and machinery; maintaining and lubricating the oil bearings of machinery and equipment; providing a barrier between the noise source and employee (e.g., sound walls, curtains, and PPE such as ear plugs).
Administrative controls are changes in the workplace or procedures implemented to reduce or eliminate workers' exposure to noise. Examples of these controls include: operating noisy machines during shifts when fewer people are exposed; limiting the amount of time a person can spend at a noise source; providing quiet areas where workers are relieved from hazardous noise sources; and controlling noise exposure through distance. Administrative controls are often simple and inexpensive, yet effective ways of reducing noise hazards.
Number of Citations: 267
While falls consistently top OSHA's top 10 violations for the construction industry, fall hazards can certainly still occur in factories, warehouses and manufacturing plants. These areas offer numerous opportunities for trips, slips and falls, thanks to grease or oil spills, ignoring ladder safety, clutter, and uneven walking surfaces.
To keep walking and working surfaces clear from hazards, manufacturers can implement the following controls:
Standard: 1910.119 – Highly Hazardous Chemicals
Number of Citations: 265
Employees need to be able to identify any mixing, separating, stacking or storing hazards for materials, including:
A complete list of chemicals, toxins, and reactive materials that OSHA has classified as highly hazardous can be found in this appendix.