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10 insights into OSHA’s Top 10

Safety experts offer advice on the most cited violations

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COVID-19 consideration

Dankert finds the COVID-19 pandemic “has added another layer of risk” that employers may not have considered before.

For instance, various organizations take workers’ temperatures as they enter a jobsite or facility, introducing a procedure that adds time to the beginning of the workday.

Employers should refrain from viewing this as being “behind the eight ball on productivity,” Dankert said, as feeling inconvenienced or rushed may create additional hazards.

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Success stories

Reflecting on his overall experiences at worksites, Newquist was positive, saying: “Companies are trying to do the right thing.”

Worker compliance with personal protective equipment “has been pretty good” on the whole, he added.

The key to fully understanding standards and the hazards associated with them hinges on being precise. “It’s a little bit easier for people when you get into more specific examples of each one instead of a general OSHA standard without looking at specific procedures,” Newquist said. “‘Let’s take a look at those five things that I mentioned and take a look at your facility.’”

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OSHA assistance

In past Q&As with S+H, Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, has reiterated that the agency’s cooperative programs and online outreach materials are available to help employers get – and stay – in compliance.

Dankert repeated the message, pointing also to OSHA’s Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, which recently awarded more than $11.2 million in one-year grants to 90 nonprofit groups for the development of safety and health training.

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Going beyond

Compliance is crucial, but it’s just the start, said Dankert, who encourages employers to maintain an active role in keeping workers safe.

Additionally, remember that OSHA upholds more than the 10 most frequently cited standards, and even the full list isn’t exhaustive.

“I would like to remind people, as difficult as it is to be in compliance, that’s the minimum that we must do to protect employees. OSHA doesn’t have a standard for every possible hazard that we might have in our facility or on our jobsite,” Dankert said. “So as difficult as it is to be compliant, we also need to understand the inherent hazards in our processes that OSHA doesn’t cover, and seek those best practices to continue to protect our employees.”

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