Want to stay safe at work? Follow the lead of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and California OSHA. OSHA is the federal agency charged with ensuring “safe and healthful working conditions” for America’s workers. It performs this function by educating workers and employers, training, and enforcing safety-related laws and rules.
OSHA covers most employees who work in the private sector, as well as all federal government employees and some state and local government employees. OSHA’s safety rules help to make sure job sites are safe. They include rules to ensure proper safety related communication and to prevent accidents such as falls and electrocutions.
In the last federal fiscal year, the top five violations cited by OSHA were as follows:
- Inadequate or failure to use fall protection;
- Inadequate or improper hazard communication;
- Scaffolding violations;
- Respiratory protection; and
- Lockout/tagout violations.
California’s OSHA catalogues statistics that show the number of fatal occupational injuries. For the most recent year in which data is available, 2014, there were 334 fatal workplace injuries in California. Transportation incidents topped the list of causes of deaths, followed by workplace violence (by people or animals), falls, contact with objects and equipment, and harmful substance exposure.
The most dangerous industries for fatal injuries were goods producing; trade, transportation, and utilities; and, surprisingly, professional and business services.
You can help avoid major injuries by practicing following industry and employer rules, keeping a tidy workplace, and wearing proper personal protective equipment. Ask for assistance with tasks if you need it, and report uncorrected violations.
Both OSHA and California OSHA have reporting systems in place to help you work more safely. You may file an OSHA complaint in person or online, and California OSHA accepts complaints by telephone or email. By law, your employer may not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
Sacramento, CA 95821