OSHA report: Top 10 workplace violations

Employees in the United States have certain rights. One of the most basic is to work in a safe environment. The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with helping to reduce the risk of workplace accidents by making sure safety regulations are followed.

One tool OSHA uses to help better ensure compliance with the regulations that are designed to keep workers safe is inspections. Inspections are conducted by OSHA inspectors. When conducting an inspection, inspectors can cite employers for violations of safety regulations.

OSHA regulations and violations: What are some common examples?

OSHA recently released a report of top workplace safety violations found throughout the country. The list was broken into ten subparts, with top violations including fall protection, hazard communication, scaffolding, respiratory protection, lockout, powered industrial trucks, ladders, electrical and wiring methods, machine guarding and electrical requirements.

The list is published in an effort to encourage employers to fix similar problems they may have within their workplaces, before a violation leads to an injury.

More on the cited violations: What leads to a citation?

Each subpart has different safety requirements set forth by OSHA. A failure to follow these requirements can result in a citation. Penalties can result, depending on the severity of the violation.

Fall protection is one of the most cited violations of the list. Employers have a duty to protect their workers against the risk of a fall in certain situations. This includes areas with unprotected sides and edges that are six feet or more above a lower surface. In these instances, OSHA requires the employer provide protection in the form of "guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems."

Each subpart has various sections breaking down the safety precautions that employers are expected to follow.

OSHA violations and penalties: Are employers held accountable?

Yes, OSHA does hold employers accountable if they violate these regulations. A serious violation can result in a penalty of $12,675 per violation, a failure to abate $12,675 per day and a violation that is viewed as willful or repeated can result in a $126,749 penalty.

Unfortunately, OSHA is a fairly small agency. As a result, not every job site gets inspected. This can result in unchecked violations.

Citation violations and accidents: What if a worker is injured while on-the-job?

Workers who are injured while on-the-job may qualify for benefits to cover the costs associated with the accident through a workers' compensation claim. Completing a claim can be complicated, and denials are not uncommon.

As a result, workers who are injured who are either putting together an application for benefits or were recently denied these benefits are wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced workers' compensation benefits lawyer can review the details of your case and guide you through the application or appeals process, better ensuring a more favorable outcome.