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February 14, 2023 in Workers' Compensation Posted by

The 10 Most Common Workplace Safety Violations

In Florida, you do not need to prove a workplace safety violation to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Under Florida law, eligible employees can file for workers’ compensation no matter how they get injured—with limited exceptions for things like showing up to work drunk and injuring yourself intentionally.

But, workplace safety violations are extremely common, and being able to prove a violation can be important in some cases. Specifically, you will need to be able to prove a safety violation (or some other form of negligence) if:

  • You are an employee but you are not eligible for workers’ compensation;
  • You are an independent contractor (and thus not eligible for workers’ compensation); or,
  • You have a third party claim against someone (or a company) other than your employer.

OSHA’s 10 Most Commonly Violated Safety Standards

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), close to three percent of workers suffer a work-related injury or illness each year. Many of these injuries and illnesses are due to violations of OSHA’s safety standards. Based on OSHA’s data the 10 most commonly violated safety standards are:

1. Inadequate Fall Protection

Falls are among the most common causes of work-related injuries, and inadequate fall protection is a big reason why. On job sites, contractors and other companies are supposed to install temporary guardrails, toe boards, flooring hole covers, and other safeguards—but they routinely fail to do so. Failure to provide workers with harnesses and other safety equipment is a common factor in many falls as well.

2. Inadequate Respiratory Protection

As OSHA explains, respirators protect workers against health and safety risks including “insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors, and sprays.” These risks can lead to various injuries and illnesses, from lung damage to cancers. Despite the well-known risks, far too many companies still fail to provide their workers with adequate respiratory protection.

3. Improper Ladder Safety on Construction Sites

Proper ladder safety is essential on construction sites. Not only does it protect employees who work on ladders, but it also protects their co-workers below. Providing workers with poorly maintained ladders, providing workers with ladders that are too short, and failing to employ spotters to hold ladders on job sites are all common failures that frequently lead to serious injuries.

4. Inadequate Hazard Communication

Inadequate hazard communication primarily involves failing to install proper warning labels and signage on hazardous chemical containers and in high-risk work environments. Companies have a legal duty to warn their employees of various types of health hazards, yet far too many fail to do so. Sadly, their failures have tragic consequences in many cases.

5. Improper Scaffolding Safety on Construction Sites

Just like improper ladder safety, improper scaffolding safety is a major problem on construction sites as well. This is especially true in areas that see a lot of residential and commercial construction, like South Florida. Common scaffolding safety failures include improper scaffolding construction, failure to inspect scaffolding prior to use, failure to properly attach scaffolding to buildings, overloading scaffolding, and failing to provide workers with harnesses and other necessary safety equipment.

6. Inadequate Fall Protection Training

Along with inadequate fall protection, inadequate fall protection training is also a leading—and preventable—cause of on-the-job injuries. On construction sites and other job sites where falling presents a risk for workers, companies have a duty to provide their workers with the information they need to stay safe on the job.

7. Failure to Control Hazardous Energy

Failure to follow proper lockout-tagout procedures and other shortcomings related to the control of hazardous energy exposes workers in all trades and occupations to the risk of electrocution. Here, too, while there are clear standards—and while the important reasons for these standards are obvious—far too many companies still fail to do the right thing.

8. Inadequate Eye, Ear and Face Protection

Workers in many occupations face daily risks for eye and ear injuries. This includes injuries from flying objects and debris, as well as injuries from bright flashes of light and loud sounds. To protect workers in these occupations, companies are supposed to ensure that they have adequate eye and face protection. Unfortunately, many do not, and this means that many of their workers suffer eye and ear injuries unnecessarily.

9. Improper Forklift Safety

Working on or around forklifts can be extremely dangerous when proper safety protocols are not followed. OSHA has adopted extensive regulations regarding the operation of forklifts and other powered industrial trucks, and companies are supposed to follow these regulations at all times. Yet, many do not, and this has led to forklift safety being a major concern for many employees.

10. Inadequate Machine Guarding and Machinery Safety

Heavy equipment, power tools and other machines should have guarding installed to ensure that workers are safe from debris, particles and other hazards. Large industrial machines need to have various built-in safety features as well—and these safety features need to be working properly at all times. When companies fail to adequately maintain their equipment, tools, machinery and facilities, they often do so knowing that their failures are putting workers in harm’s way.

Were You Injured Due to a Workplace Safety Violation?

If you were injured on the job due to a workplace safety violation in Florida, you should speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. This is true whether the violation was committed by your employer or another company. Along with workers’ compensation benefits, you may be entitled to additional compensation as well, but you will need an experienced lawyer on your side to recover the compensation you deserve.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation About Your Legal Rights in Florida

Are you suffering from a work-related injury or illness in Florida? If so, we can assess your legal rights and fight for just compensation on your behalf. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at The Gallagher Law Group, P.A., please call 954-530-7314 or tell us how we can contact you online today.

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