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What is the OSHA violation you see most often on the job site?

Scaffolding and safety issues. Wearing safety harnesses, erecting scaffolding properly and with all safety pieces on.


Bad ends on electrical cords. Not using eye and fall protection, also frayed or old extension cords.

—Alan Castro, Advanced Drywall Services Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Ladder Safety.


Frayed cords, improper use of ladders, lack of hard hats on non-union jobs, not being tied off with safety harness, not adhering to 6′ fall rule.


I haven’t seen an injury on the job in almost 30 years. My men are well trained and do their best to comply. Every time we have had an encounter with OSHA, it was either while we were building scaffolding or taking it down. In every case, I saw it as no more than a shakedown.




OSHA has been teaming up with the Contractors License board and State D.I.R. They been going to job sites and checking for contractors’ licenses, workmans’ comp insurance, OSHA violations and undocumented workers. OSHA looks for your accident prevention plan and violations such as the guard pinned on your Skil saw or a bad extension cords. Someone I know had this happen to him; he had his guard pinned. This was his first violation. Fine was $18,000. The fine was later reduced to $500.

—David Atkin, David Atkin Construction Inc., Ventura, California

Persons not wearing their personal protective equipment while working.


We rarely see OSHA on our jobsites, so I cannot speak to that regarding our jobs.

OSHA’s data show that falls are the most prevalent cause for injury, so I’m thinking that they control the most for fall protection.

We’ve just finished a mammoth job in Virginia and the general contractor’s most often cited violation was for PPE (personal protection equipment) usage—or non-usage.

While the volume of work is way down, it is my understanding that more OSHA inspectors have been hired, so the incidence of inspections should be on the rise—based on that assumption.

The pre-qualification statements that general contractors are requiring for us to be able to bid their jobs are becoming more and more stringent and comprehensive. And our history of OSHA violations/citations is always a requirement.

More important than that, however, is the effect of injuries on the company’s worker’s compensation rating (experience modification rating). If it is high, that premium cuts into our bottom line. A low EMR is attractive to the customer and significantly helps our bottom line. It also gives the men the comfort that the company is looking out for their safety and health, not only profit. I know contractors who were the low bidder but who were not awarded the job because their EMR was unacceptable to the owner or contractor.

In this time, when work is slow and profits way down, every way that we can cut costs and liability is attractive.

—Robert A. Aird, Owner, Robert A. Aird, Inc., Frederick, Maryland

As an ex-compliance officer and now a safety director I will say the most cited will change in the future for our industry as well as construction in a whole. In the past the most frequent violations one could expect in the our industry was from fall protection, scaffolding, electrical and training. The biggest one of these four would be fall protection. As an ex-compliance officer the next easiest violation that could be found on the majority of work sites was bad extension cords, followed by GFCI usage or assured grounding program—but remember, this was the past. I strongly believe the future citations contractors will start to experience or may be experiencing already is industrial hygiene–type citations such as hearing protection, respirable dust, respirator use (appendix D Voluntary Use) and portland cement, to name a few. The biggest item will be to ensure training is covered with employee on these subjects. Training will continue to be at the top of the list of most frequently cited citations but now will be for Industrial Hygiene types of issues.


The most common violations we see involve scaffolding. On larger (and therefore more likely to be inspected) projects there is going to be scaffolding of some type. With all the required parts, pieces, training, fall protection, human element and potential for deadly accidents, scaffolding rightly receives more scrutiny.

—John Hall, SPECON Systems, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama

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