OSHA’s preliminary top ten most frequently cited violations list was recently released, and it should be no surprise to anyone to see what’s on it—the same violations make the list year after year. The order of which violations are most frequently cited may change but for the past five years fall protection has been the most-cited standard.
OSHA’s list is meant to identify recurring hazards as a means to avoid them. Unfortunately, given how little things have changed in the last decade, raising the profile of the most frequent violations is not enough to prevent them from occurring again and again.
One of the reasons could be that few people set out to willingly violate OSHA standards. Unfortunately, human factors like rushing and fatigue can lead to unintentional violations. And no amount of compliance training will help someone if they’re in a state of complacency and not thinking about the very real dangers that are present on the job site.
In fact, in his column in Safety Decisions, Ray Prest argues that organizational complacency is a huge problem. He says: “Companies can also get complacent. It’s possible for organizational complacency to erode the usual safety procedures and, if you’re not careful, you might find that someone has failed to properly install a guard rail or wear their fall protection. If an OSHA inspector is in the neighborhood when that happens, the result can be a sizeable fine. Even if there’s no inspector present it still elevates the level of risk for your workers.” (Read the full article here.)
Companies can fight organizational complacency by implementing human factors training. It can help management and workers alike recognize the mental states that can lead to errors, injuries or being written up for an OSHA violation. Learn more about how human factors training works in a free upcoming webinar—it just might help you avoid adding to OSHA’s citation tally in the future.