David Letterman has his top 10 list, and so does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration! Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with it directly through overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and salespeople, work with electricity indirectly and are also exposed to electrical hazards.
1910.305 Electrical, Wiring Methods and 1910.303 Electrical, General Requirements are categories consistently on OSHA’s top 10 list of most commonly cited safety violations.
The top five serious electrical violations are:
1) 1926.404(f)(6) – Grounding Path (502 violations)
2) 1926.404(b)(1)(i) – Ground Fault Protection (306) violations)
3) 1926.405(g)(2)(iv) – Flexible Cords – Strain Relief (232 violations)
4) 1926.416(e)(1) – Worn/Frayed Cords or Cables(216 violations)
5) 1926.403(b)(2) – Equipment Installation and Use (213 violations)
Penalties for OSHA violations are costly. Failing to follow their workplace posting requirements could result in a Posting Violation with a penalty of $7,000. Serious Violation (hazard could cause injury/illness likely to result in death) penalties may also cost up to $7,000 for each offense. Failure to Abate Violations (not correcting cited violations) may result in a $7,000 per day penalty for each day the violation continues beyond the date the correction was supposed to be made.
For each Willful Violation (employer knowingly failed to comply or acted with indifference) or Repeat Violation (cited for same or similar condition), the penalty may be as high as $70,000. If an employer is convicted in a criminal proceeding for committing a Willful Violation that resulted in a death, penalties may be as high as $500,000, in addition to the possibility of a prison term for six months or more.
If an employer falsifies records, they may be subject to a prison term of six months and/or a criminal fine of $10,000. Assaulting, resisting, or interfering with an OSHA Compliance Officer in the performance of their duty to spot these violations is a criminal offense resulting in a prison term of up to three years and a possible fine of $5,000.
The best way to avoid paying costly penalties or fines is by staying compliant with OSHA regulations and standards. In addition to avoiding the cost of expensive penalties, compliance reduces expenses associated with accidents and injuries, lowering insurance costs and increasing productivity.
May is Electrical Safety Month and I will be doing a blog post each week. If you have a topic that may interest you, feel free to email me.
Nickle Safety – It’s How We’re Wired
Mike Anderson, CHST