Looming OSHA fine increases will hit residential contractors more than any other sector. On 8/1/2016 OSHA fines will increase 78%. Top Serious fines go from $7,000 to $12,471 and Willful and Repeat fines increase from $70,000 to $125,000. OSHA will continue to focus on industries that year after year lead the nation in injuries, deaths and non-compliance.
As the date approaches we are getting calls from contractors concerned about the new increase in OSHA fines. Most of the inquiries are from companies who do not have safety program and are not up to date on training their personnel especially on fall protection. In true contractor fashion, a government announcement that penalties and fines are increasing is causing companies to pay attention and act now. Inquiries include requests for Safety Manuals, OSHA 10 and 30 Certification training, Fall Protection training and advise on where to get started.
Pro-active versus Reactive
I remember 2010 when the EPA RRP Rule said contractors would be fined $37,500 per violation if they did not get certified by 4/22/2010. Thousand of contractors sought and obtained training because of the fear of being fined. This reactive approach is very common with residential contractors. I suspect that we will see a similar response on OSHA training and compliance over the course of the next 6 months.
Top 10 cited violations
Top on the non-compliance list is the residential construction industry. In addition to roofers and framers the list includes builders, remodelers, developers, siding, painters, masons and trade sub-contractors.
Again the # 1 most cited OSHA violation is 1926.501; fall protection in residential construction working 6 feet or more above a lower level. Additionally scaffold and ladder violations in construction remain in the top 10. Many residential contractors continue to ignore their responsibility to develop and implement safety programs/manuals, train their workers, provide personal protective equipment and require that all employees and sub-contractors work safe.
OSHA's 2015 TOP TEN
Most Frequently Cited Violations
1. 1926.501 – Fall Protection (C)
2. 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication
3. 1926.451 – Scaffolding (C)
4. 1910.134 – Respiratory Protection
5. 1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout
(C) = Construction standard
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6. 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
7. 1926.1053 – Ladders (C)
8. 1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
9. 1910.212 – Machine Guarding
10. 1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements