Deputy Director  of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs Patrick Kapust presented the agency’s preliminary list at the National Safety Congress and Expo on September 26.

Powered Industrial trucks 1910.178 makes the TOP TEN again in 2017

Here are the Top Ten, along with the number of citations.

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) – 6,072
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 4,176
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 3,288
  4. Respirator Protection (1910.134) – 3,097
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,877
  6. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,241
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,162
  8. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 1,933
  9. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) – 1,523
  10. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 1,405

If you are just now reviewing your OSHA training  performance, these standards would be a great place to start.
The  items numbered 1910 are General Industry, those numbered 1926 are Construction.
Photo courtesy Staffing Talk

We were priveleged to have had a face to face meeting with Director Michaels of OSHA earlier this year.

We brought up the topic of harsh regulatory tone.

Director Michaels characterized the agency as ‘small and needing strong means to remain effective.’

We congratulated him on the agency’s success at portraying themselves as aggressive regulators.

The OSHA website has this to say:

“OSHA is a small agency; with our state partners we have approximately 2,200 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers, employed at more than 8 million worksites around the nation – which translates to about one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers.”

Before getting too sympathetic,  a review of some facts might be in order:

Penalties doubled!

Actually average proposed penalties are up by 102%

Both Bark and Bite are big! OSHA statistics reveal that the average proposed penalty for a Serious violation doubled from $1,053 in 2010 to $2,132 in 2011- a 102% increase!

OSHA Budget is up!

FY 2011: $573,096,000

FY 2012: $583,386,000

Although by Washington DC standards a little over half a billion dollars and an increase of  $10.3 million dollars probably doesn’t seem like much money at all.

According to Sherman and Howard Law Blog

“Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, recently  stated that the higher penalties are still too low when compared to other  regulatory agencies. He defended the higher penalties as an important tool in  OSHA’s overall efforts to increase enforcement. In our view, this increase comes  as no surprise and employers can expect even higher penalties in 2012 and  beyond. “

OSHA seems to be taking this size thing to heart!

Since higher penalties remain an important tool and are still too low, and since OSHA cannot practically visit all 7 million workplaces it makes sense for employers to proactively address OSHA compliance.

When OSHA arrives, they will be itchin’ to do a great job.

The first place to start would be how does a small agency  prioritize its enforcement resources?

Inspection Priorities!

1. Imminent danger situations—hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm— receive top priority.

2. Fatalities and catastrophes—incidents that involve a death or the hospitalization of three or more employees—come next.

3. Complaints—allegations of hazards or violations also receive a high priority.

4. Referrals of hazard information from other federal, state or local agencies, individuals, organizations or the media receive consideration for inspection.

5. Follow-ups—checks for abatement of violations cited during previous inspections—are also conducted by the agency in certain circumstances.

6. Planned or programmed investigations— inspections aimed at specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces that have experienced high rates of injuries and illnesses— also receive priority.

For more on these inspection priorities consult the OSHA Fact Sheet link below.

Back to Basics!

Train your people in

  • Personal Protective Equipment,
  • Lockout- Tagout,
  • Right To Know Haz Comm,
  • Slips Falls Tripping Hazards,
  • Machine Guarding,
  • Powered Industrial Trucks ,
  • Electrical- Wiring and General,

You can intelligently manage your risk of OSHA Enforcement and penalties by asking yourself these three questions and then doing something about them:

  • Do you have a process for managing safety?
  • Is it followed?
  • Is it effective?

As employers we have a general duty to maintain a safe workplace. Let’s take our duty seriously. You know the folks from OSHA will.


OSHA Inspection Fact Sheet

OSHA Field Manual

OSHA Employers Rights originally posted last October here

OSHA Stats

OSHA Top Ten


Please note that these  Top Ten Citations are for all industries (including construction), not just Precision Machining.

This Top 10 list is nothing to laugh at...

Fall protection – 7,139 violations.

Scaffolding – 7,069 violations. 37 fatalities.

Hazard communication – 6,538 violations.

Respiratory protection – 3,944 violations.

Lockout/tagout – 3,639 violations.

Electrical – wiring methods – 3,584 violations.

Powered industrial trucks – 3,432 violations.

Ladders – 3,244 violations.

Electrical – general – 2,863 violations.

Machine guarding. Number of citations not published, last year there were 2,364 violations.

If you get a visit from OSHA, you can bet they will be taking a look at the items on this list.

And here’s an employers rights guide from OSHA that will tell you what to do after their visit.


Post by James Pryor II  American Safety And Health Management Consultants, Inc.
Your shops’s LOCKOUT /TAGOUT program is the “key” to safety on machinery and equipment repair and maintenance operations.

Lockout tagout is the KEY to hazardous Energy Control!

An effective and stringent LOCKOUT/ TAGOUT program provides critical protection for employees during repairs and maintenance.
Here are a few checklist items to  evaluate your Lockout Tagout program.
1. Review OSHA 29CFR1910.147  the Federal Lockout/Tagout  regulation.
2. Review Requirements for Lockout/ Tagout devices- they must be durable, standardized, substantial  and identifiable.
3. Review all equipment requiring Lockout/Tagout- for example Locks, Blocks, Chains, Multi lock hasps and other devices. They must be durable, standardized, substantial  and identifiable.
4. Review your procedures for equipment where Lockout/Tagout is required.
5. Insure AFFECTED  and authorized employees  are trained in Lockout / Tagout procedures initially and annually thereafter.
6. Insure training for both AFFECTED and AUTHORIZED employees is conducted whenever there is a change in equipment or procedures.
7. Keep employees informed when equipment is being repaired or serviced .
8. Stay alert and use common sense when Lockout/ Tagout procedures are in place.
9. Keep written records of all Lockout Tagout Hazardous Energy Control Training.
10. And of course, every time you are out in the shop make certain that your team is following your procedures.
Are they being followed ? Are they effective?
What is the best way that you have found to convince employees of the importance of hazardous energy control?
Kirlian Key Photo Credit

Guest post by James Pryor
We like to make parts. That is the nature of our business. When we think of workplace safety we generally think in terms of accidents related to the fabrication of machined parts such as hand and eye injuries.
However, the most frequently cited threat (Current OSHA data) safety violation for machine shops is the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/ Tagout). – OSHA 10/09 -09/2010.

I prefer a padlock myself...

 Lockout / Tagout OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.147 requires all employers to provide protection for employees performing maintenance and servicing on equipment or machines from the accidental start up or release of energy which could result in an employee being injured.

  • When was the last time you reviewed your control of hazardous energy procedures?
  • When was the last time you performed an audit to assure they are being followed?
  • Does someone review the requirements for control of hazardous energy whenever there is a change in your systems such as the introduction of new equipment?

 Training on these changes is a federal requirement.
The following review  questions are provided to help you assure that your control of hazardous energy covers all the bases.

  • Do you have a written company policy on the control of hazardous energy? Is the role of management clearly defined?
  • Have supervisors been trained in lockout/tagout procedures?
  • Have authorized employees been trained in lockout/tagout procedures?
  • Have affected employees been trained in lockout/tagout procedures?
  • Have other employees been trained in lockout/tagout procedures?
  • Are the approved locks and tags in place and in use?
  • Is there a written lockout / tagout procedure and have employees been trained?
  • Does this plan include warnings, testing and positioning of equipment and procedures for restoring machines and/ or equipment to normal production operations?
  • Does the plan include procedures for more than one person?
  • Does the plan include shift changes?
  • Does the plan include an annual audit of authorized employees?
  • Does the plan include procedures for multiple energy source equipment?
  • Does the plan include minor tool changes and adjustments?
  • Does the plan include emergency lock removal procedures.?
  • Does the plan include provisions for qualified employees?
  •  Does your company enforce the plan and document enforcement?
  • Does the plan allow for re-training?
  • Does the plan clearly define roles and responsibilities?

Control of hazardous energy is the most cited failure in our industry, we hope that these review questions will help you keep your workers safe and your program in compliance.

Many folks associate September 11 with the year 2001 and the horrific attacks to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  That is appropriate and respectful.

This should be a common sight in your shop.
This should be a common sight in your shop.

But professionally, I associate September 11 with 1990, the year that the US Dept. of Labor issued their OSHA instruction STD 1-7.3  Subject: 29 CFR 1910.147 the control of hazardous energy (Lockout/Tagout) – Inspection Procedures and Interpretive Guidance.  
Here are 7 questions you should answer to make sure you’re in compliance: 

  1. Do you have a written hazardous energy control program in your shop? When did you last revise it and review hazards?
  2. Do you have documented hazardous energy control procedures? Can you show me evidence of employee training?
  3. Does your program have a means of dealing with outside contractors?
  4. If an inspector asks an employee what is the procedure for removing another employee’s lock, what will they say?
  5. Does each employee have their own personal lock out device?
  6. Are the lockout points identified on every power driven machine in your shop
  7. Can you show me the actions that you took / follow up to your annual review and certification of your shop’s energy control program?

Lockout Tagout Hazardous Energy Control Violations continue to be a high violation in our industry by OSHA. This is 2009. So in the 19 years since 1990, you would think that our companies would have this lockout tagout stuff figured out by now, right?
Here’s a construction example of what can happen when there is a failure to properly lockout electrical energy.
Here is OSHA’s Booklet 3120 on Control of Hazardous Energy 
Photo courtesy of the Workplace Safety Store, who offers DVD VHS Lockout Training Refresher Program.

Safety- What You Can Do Today To Make Your Company The Most Money?
No one can afford the wasted money and lost time that result from accidents and injuries at work.
No one wants the increased scrutiny by officials that is sure to follow a serious accident.
No one wants to see anyone senselessly hurt.
3 Things You Can Do Today:

  1. Hold your people accountable to work safely. Starting with you. Wear your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when you are out in the shop. Why be a hypocrite? Don’t turn a blind eye when you notice them without their PPE. Let them know that their safety is important to you.
  2. Train your people to understand the hazards, know when to get assistance, and why the guards and precautions are needed. Follow up to make sure that they understand. And listen to, and then take action,on their feedback.
  3. Confirm that your procedures are up-to-date and being followed. Lockout/Tagout, Hazard Communications, and Housekeeping are high frequency violations. Would your shop pass an audit of these three areas if I were to visit right now?

Note to operators- nobody wants you to get hurt.  Your talent, knowledge, diligence, and professionalism are the foundation of our industry’s success. And why our car’s brakes work. And the landing gear deploys on the airplanes we fly. And why the electricity gets safely to our homes.Your work makes other technologies work. Safely.Work smart, don’t take risks. No shortcut is worth losing a body part. Get training-not hurt.

Safety first when working at home too, guys!
Safety first when working at home too, guys!

All of us are creatures of habit, doing the things each day that we habitually do.  We need to let the power of these habits work for us. Let’s make safety first a habit that keeps our shops and people both safe and productive. Making safety first is ‘What you can do to make your company the most money.’
Safety first!