OSHA’s Top 10 2021: Part I, Machine Safeguarding, Powered Industrial Trucks, and Eye and Face PPE

Despite increased focus and incredible advancements in workplace and worker safety, the industrial sector can still improve. OSHA recently released a list of some of the most frequently cited violations of their safety standards. In this four-part series, we will explore these top ten most common violations, why they are a threat, and how they can be addressed with advanced solutions and processes.

Our first part will cover machine safeguarding, eye and face protection, and powered industrial truck-related violations.

Machine safeguarding

Machine safeguards are essential to protect workers from preventable injuries such as crushed fingers or hands, burns, blindness, etc. All parts, processes, or functions that can be a safety hazard must be safeguarded.

However, the absence of machine safeguarding is a common issue and the reason for its constant appearance on OSHA’s top violations. OSHA recently charged a New Jersey frozen food manufacturer a penalty of $77,184 for one repeat violation and six serious violations.

Organizations must make sure that the physical safeguards are in place and ensure that they employ the right connected technologies to create an ecosystem of safety. Solutions such as control access zoning, sensors, lockout/tag-outs can prevent unauthorized access, and alert workers when they are attempting something that is unsafe.

These solutions can be used to improve training outcomes and a behavioral shift towards safety by delivering information and alerts when a mistake is being made. Advanced emergency response systems like sensor-based alarms, user-initiated panic/SOS systems improve the safety stand and ensure fast responses to prevent fatalities.

Eye and Face PPE

Each day about 2000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. (CDC NIOSH)

Eye and Face PPE violations are major causes of avoidable work-related injuries. Eye and face PPE must meet industry standards to protect workers from projectiles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. OSHA cited 1,411 violations.

Non-compliance and repeated offenses cause fines to grow, for example, a roofing contractor was cited with one serious and four repeat violations in the areas of ladder safety; eye, head, and face protection; and fall protection with total proposed fines of $218,197.

Connected worker solutions can ensure better PPE compliance by reminding the worker to adopt correct PPE based on the work location, job type, and other configurable parameters.

Powered Industrial trucks

Powered Industrial Trucks like forklifts or lift trucks are commonplace in most industries. Each type of powered industrial truck presents different operating hazards such as falling load accidents, struck-by incidents, or falling when on elevated palettes and tines. Operating a forklift by anyone under the age of 18 or without proper training is considered a federal offense.

Despite well-understood OSHA standards, incidents around powered industrial trucks are common. Recently, OSHA cited a sawmill and pallet manufacturer with 13 safety and health violations following the death of an 86-year-old worker. Among these violations were one in the areas of failing to use eye and face protection, not addressing the hazards from operating powered industrial trucks.

Wearable and sensor systems help powered industrial truck operators remain alert and attentive towards man-machine interaction. Connected worker solutions can monitor the driver/operator’s physiological conditions in real-time, and preemptively notify the driver/operator of decreased alertness levels.

Additionally. proximity detection systems improve safety by proactively detecting static or moving objects and equipment and improving presence detection capabilities.

With human-centric solutions such as connected workers, IIoP (Industrial Internet of People), and other advanced technology, organizations can improve safety, compliance, and ensure their workers return home after each shift.

About Guardhat

Guardhat is pioneering end-to-end connected worker safety solutions for industrial workers. We offer cutting-edge, wearable technology; a proprietary connected worker platform – unrivaled in its ability to ingest, manage and analyze unstructured data; easy to deploy monitoring and reporting software; and a growing system of partner integrations.

Guardhat enables companies to monitor worker location, health, and work environment to shorten reaction time and help proactively solve safety challenges. We hold 15 patents in real-time location systems, wearable solution design, and connected worker software. If you are interested in our connected safety solutions – including situational awareness, environmental and biometric monitoring, multi-modal communication, RTLS, Covid-19, and other advanced technology solutions – contact us to arrange a demo.


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