Each year, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announce their “top-ten” list of the most frequent safety violations in the nation. We are reprinting the 2011 list here so employers and employees will take a moment to reassess how faithfully they are following standard workplace safety procedures (and, as a corollary, how likely or unlikely they are to receive an OSHA citation).

On a lighter note, it can also be instructional to hear anecdotes of outrageous safety infractions. The following list is believed to be accurate, but it has not been double checked for elements of urban-legend content. Nevertheless, it is our hope that the educational benefit is outweighed only by the amusement and shock factors.
  • A paint-booth worker inserted yellow foam earplugs into his nostrils to protect him from breathing the overspray. The earplugs were attached to a lanyard worn around his neck so he could reuse them all day.
  • In a laboratory with an extensive collection of hazardous chemicals, a safety inspector found a 2-year-old toddler running haphazardly around the room as the research chemist sat on a stool in front of his apparatus sound asleep.
  • On a road-construction project, a crew was observed working at night, adjacent to a busy intersection, with none of the following: warning signs, cones, barricades, reflective vests, light-colored clothing or effective lighting.
Next time we’ll conclude this unbelievable list. You will want to check back.