We recently discussed the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division's crackdown on construction project safety hazards. Today we want to elaborate on its efforts, and address Oregon OSHA's top ten safety violations for 2013, as published in its February 2014 newsletter.
The February newsletter begins with a telling message from the Oregon OSHA Administrator about Oregon's approach to violation penalties compared to other states, and how that approach may change going forward. For minor and first time violations, Oregon's penalties are lower than anywhere else in the country, the Administrator claims. While this is generally a good thing for businesses, the Administrator notes that Oregon OSHA is mindful of the limited impact these low penalties may have in terms of deterring safety violations. Essentially, Oregon OSHA is becoming concerned with number of businesses taking advantage of its lenience.
In an attempt to bolster the deterrent impact of Oregon OSHA penalties, the Administrator promises its practices in doling out those penalties are changing. He promises routine referral of employers who do not pay their penalties to the Construction Contractors Board, and greater examination of repeat and willful violations for license suspension or withdrawal recommendation. We've addressed the severity of those consequences before.
Oregon OSHA's top 10 violations of 2013 were:
- Safety committees and safety meetings.
- Hazard communication.
- Fall protection (including ladder violations).
- Electrical: wiring.
- Fire extinguishers.
- Machine guarding.
- Powered industrial trucks.
- Eyewash station.
- Respiratory protection.
It's clear Oregon OSHA is no longer messing around when it comes to safety violations. Though this list includes the most common violations, it is not exhaustive. If you have concerns about compliance with these or other construction standards, you should contact an Oregon construction attorney.