How to identify OSHA violations on a job site
Through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), federal and state agencies enforce safety rules for many businesses and companies, including those in the construction industry, such as commercial real estate construction. OSHA operates under the U.S. Department of Labor, with Nevada in charge of administering OSHA regulations and violations at the state level. Whether an employer or an employee, you must understand how to identify OSHA violations on a job site. Read below as our De Castroverde team shares more information on the subject.
What Is OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 helped create OSHA to ensure healthy and safe working conditions by providing outreach, education, training, and assistance while setting and enforcing standards. The OSHA act covers most private-sector employers and their workers and some public-sector employers and workers. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health under the U.S. Department of Labor is the administrator for OSHA and answers to the Secretary of Labor, a cabinet member of the U.S. President.
Nevada Safety Regulations
Nevada is one of the strictest states, with specific job site safety regulations and rules in addition to those OSHA covers. All forepersons, supervisors, and superintendents must complete OSHA 30 training, meaning they must complete 30 hours of OSHA educational training. All employees on a worksite must complete OSHA 10 or 10 hours of safety classes. Nevada also requires a company with ten or more employees to have a written safety program that meets all requirements of the Nevada Revised Statutes. A company must have a safety committee if it has 25 or more employees.
Who Is Responsible for Safety on the Job Site?
While everyone needs to take responsibility for safety on the job site, you’re responsible for your employees’ compliance if you’re a business owner. Accidents on the job site, whether due to employee negligence or lack of safety measures, are ultimately your responsibility.
Being proactive regarding safety rules and regulations is the best way to keep everyone safe on the job site. You must keep safety orientation, education, and programs current, and employees should continuously undergo training. You must also constantly check to ensure employees follow the rules and regulations. A safety program doesn’t work if no one is following it, leaving your business open to OSHA violations or citations and jeopardizing the safety of your employees. Many private companies provide workplace audits and training for OSHA safety protocols and requirements to help mitigate risk.
Workplace safety compliance companies can perform walk-through inspections or safety audits to identify violations that would result in OSHA fining or penalizing you. OSHA recently raised its fines, doubling most of them, depending on the seriousness of the citation and whether it’s a repeated or willful violation. OSHA can also fine you for each violation, which means you could face three violations if you’re not wearing a hard hat, safety glasses, or harness while working on the roof. Correcting these safety violations before a visit from OSHA can save you money.
How To Identify OSHA Violations on a Job Site
If you suspect an OSHA violation on a job site, it’s important to report the violation to ensure the safety and protection of all employees. The top 10 most frequently cited violationsfor all industries in 2021 include:
- Fall protection, construction.
- Respiratory protection, general industry.
- Ladders, construction.
- Hazard communication, general industry.
- Scaffolding, construction.
- Fall protection training, construction.
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry.
- Eye and face protection, construction.
- Machinery and machine guarding, general industry.
If you’re an employee, you’re encouraged to bring the condition to your employer’s attention when you suspect an OSHA violation. You may file a complaint with OSHA if your employer doesn’t act. You can request that OSHA not tell your employer who complained, but your employer can’t discriminate, demote, transfer, or fire you for filing a complaint. If no one addresses violations, it can lead to workplace accidents, such as construction accidents, including bodily injury and property damage.
How To Report OSHA Violations on a Job Site
While some OSHA violations are easy to spot, others could be questionable. If you suspect the job site has OSHA violations, you can call the OSHA Whistleblower’s Hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or TTY 877-889-5627. You can also file a non-emergency complaint via the OSHA Online Whistleblower Complaint Form. You can file a complaint orally and in writing in any language via the online complaint form, a mailed or faxed form, walking in, or calling on the telephone. A signed, written complaint that you submit to your local OSHA office will most likely result in an on-site OSHA inspection.
How Is an OSHA Whistleblower Protected?
OSHA protects whistleblowers from adverse actions under more than 20 protection laws. An employee has the right to complain or report to OSHA about unhealthy and unsafe conditions in the workplace. You can file a whistleblower complaint if you suspect your employer has taken retaliatory actions. A whistleblower complaint must state four key elements:
- The employee participated in an activity protected by the whistleblower protection law, such as reporting a workplace violation.
- The employer suspected or knew about the employee participating in the protected activity.
- The employer took retaliatory or adverse action against the whistleblower employee.
- The protected activity contributed to or motivated the employer to take retaliatory or adverse action.
What Happens During an OSHA Inspection?
Once you’ve filed a complaint, OSHA representatives may choose to complete a workplace inspection. During that inspection, you and all employees and your representatives have the right to:
- Talk with the OSHA inspector in private.
- Attend the inspection.
- Participate in the meetings before and after the OSHA inspection.
If your job site lacks union or employee representation, the OSHA inspector must include a reasonable number of workers for the investigation. You have the right to know the results of the OSHA inspection and request a review if the inspector issues no fines and you’re the one who filed the complaint.
If you’ve been injured on the job, contact the knowledgeable team at De Castroverde. Our personal injury and accident lawyers have the experience to help you receive the compensation you deserve while protecting your rights. Complete our secure online form or call us at 702-919-6246 to request a free case evaluation.
Photo Credit: HARD HAT by marc falardeau is licensed with CC BY 2.0