by , on February 5, 2019

OSHA’s latest Top Ten list differs from the previous year in that one often-recurring problem area didn’t make it to the Top Ten: Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305).

However, Lockout/Tagout continues to make the list and is still in the same position it was last year, #5.

The #10 most-cited standard is a newcomer to the list: Personal Protective and Life-Saving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection.

OSHA’s Top Ten 2018

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements: 7,216 violations (up from 6,687 in 2017)
  2. Hazard Communication: 4,537 violations
  3. Scaffolding: 3,319 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection: 3,112 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,923 violations (down from 3,131 in 2017)
  6. Ladders: 2,780 violations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks: 2,281 violations
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements: 1,978 violations
  9. Machine Guarding: 1,969 violations
  10. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,528 violations

Looking at Eye and Face Protection in Regards to Electrical Safety

CFR 1926.102, #10 above, is the eye and face protection standard for construction. Electricians and qualified electrical workers  fall under the rules of 1926 when doing electrical construction activities. For non-construction or electrical maintenance activities, they refer to 1910.333-335.

Whether the hazard is arc flash or electric shock, the bottom line for electricians and electrical workers is that they must protect themselves while working on electrical equipment. This includes eye and face protection. 

From Subpart S, 1910.335(a)(1)(v), OSHA states this:

Employees shall wear protective equipment for the eyes or face wherever there is danger of injury to the eyes or face from electric arcs or flashes or from flying objects resulting from electrical explosion. (emphasis added)

A shock hazard exists if the worker, while working on or near energized equipment, wears prescription glasses that are conductive. OSHA considers eyeglasses with exposed metal parts as “conductive apparel.” Both eyeglasses with a metal frame and metallic chain straps on the eyeglass frame worn around the neck present a shock hazard when the wearer is close to energized parts. An OSHA Interpretation Letter from 1993 explains that the chain should be removed and the worker should wear a protective face shield or appropriate safety glasses over the metal eyeglasses.

Room for Improvement

We are glad to see that some of these most-cited areas seem to be improving in numbers of violations. In six standards, the number of violations decreased from 2017, and as mentioned earlier, one standard did not even make the list this year. We hope to see a continuous downward trend in all major areas.

The reality is that there is always room for improvement. At your site, regularly identify hazards, assess the risks, and then enforce actions that will remove or reduce those risks.

Our e-Hazard Safety Cycle™ applies to all aspects of electrical safety and offers a complete picture to help companies understand how to grow and maintain their electrical safety program. e-Hazard believes it is critical to continue to educate businesses on all aspects of electrical safety. Whether a company is a customer of ours or not, we want all workers to go home to their families at the end of the day.

Always work safely!

Further reading

See These Eyes: Electrical Safety and Metal Eyeglass Frames


Ken Sellars
About author:
Ken Sellars is an instructor of electrical safety, NEC, Grounding/Bonding and Arc Flash Safety courses nationwide. Read more about Ken.

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