The Most Common OSHA Violations and Why Their Enforcement is About to Increase

It has always been important for auto repair facilities to adhere to OSHA rules, but compliance is about to become even more imperative. That’s because, under the new Department of Labor budget request, OSHA would receive a 12% funding increase to their enforcement budget for 2022. This budget increase will lead to greater enforcement of OSHA violations and stricter penalties.

The proposed $664M OSHA budget for 2022 from the House Appropriations Committee includes a $73 million increase to rebuild its enforcement capacity among many other line items. Those include:

  • $10,084,000 and 30 FTE* to restore OSHA’s rulemaking and guidance capacity
  • $19,881,000 and 207 FTE* to rebuild and strengthen OSHA’s enforcement program
  • $5,343,000 and 63 FTE* to expand OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program
  • $6,009,000 and 45 FTE* for Compliance Assistance Specialists to conduct outreach to workers and employers in high-hazard industries, offer training on OSHA industry-specific hazards, and promote OSHA’s suite of cooperative programs
  • $2,000,000 to develop and provide valuable and accurate information about hazards in the workplace and improve the safety environment for at risk workers in a variety of high-hazards industries

* FTE=full-time equivalent employees

These increases reverse a reduction of OSHA compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) over the last four years. According to the budget summary: “The FY 2022 Budget rebuilds DOL’s capacity with necessary investments to reverse years of declining staffing levels that harmed the Department’s ability to meet its mission on behalf of American workers, job seekers, and retirees.” The lack of OSHA violation enforcement resulted in a disastrous trend: workplace fatalities in 2019 were at the highest level in 12 years, an increase of 2% from 2018, which had already increased 2% from 2017. (As of this article, 2020 numbers are not yet available.)

Interestingly, according to OSHA, there were 32,292 inspections in 2019, which was a slight increase from 2018. But these OSHA violation inspection numbers are misleading. As reported by the National Employment Law Project, “On the surface, OSHA reports a similar number of investigations over the past few years; but digging just a bit beneath the surface, it becomes clear that this is a false narrative and that the agency is prioritizing quantity over quality, in an effort to disguise what is really going on.”

With the new OSHA budgeting proposal, enforcement in many industries including auto repair may be faced with more and higher OSHA violation fines and punishments. That’s because the House Appropriation Committee’s proposal not only stresses greater enforcement of OSHA violations, but the “committee urges OSHA to adopt policies that encourage the use of full penalties or a penalty multiplier for serious violations in large businesses.”

The Most Common OSHA Violations

You can avoid many fines by knowing which infractions are more likely to be flagged. Below are the most common violations and fine amounts, for both auto repair facilities and manufacturers (for infractions between October 2019 and September 2020).

The Top 10 OSHA Cited Standards for Automotive Repair and Maintenance, by Fine Amount

  1. Hazard Communication
  2. Respiratory Protection
  3. General Duty (Providing a Safe Workplace)
  4. Servicing Rim Wheels (Materials Handling and Storage)
  5. The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
  6. General Requirements (PPE)
  7. Medical Services and First Aid
  8. General (Conductors/Electrical Equipment)
  9. Wiring Methods/Components/Equipment
  10. Fall and Falling Object Protection (Walking and Work Surfaces)

The Top 10 OSHA Cited Standards for Manufacturing, by Fine Amount

  1. General Machine Requirements (Machinery and Machine Guarding)
  2. The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
  3. Hazard Communication
  4. Powered Industrial Trucks (Materials Handling and Storage)
  5. General Duty (Providing a Safe Workplace)
  6. Respiratory Protection
  7. General Requirements (PPE)
  8. General (Conductors/Electrical Equipment)
  9. Fall and Falling Object Protection (Walking and Work Surfaces)
  10. Mechanical Power Presses (Machinery and Machine Guarding)

The Importance of a Proven Compliance Vendor

Due to limited time, low staffing or just ignorance of the way-too-many rules, it can be challenging for an auto facility to avoid every OSHA violation, even with the best of intentions. That’s why many auto facilities rely on GMG EnviroSafe for compliance. At GMG EnviroSafe, we work with auto facilities, dealerships and collision repair centers around the country to provide expert support, identify hazards, train staff, supply paperwork and provide laboratory services, along with a host of additional services to ensure OSHA violations are avoided. With our popular Your Compliance Department program in particular, we make compliance easy while protecting your team, and your business.

Contact us to learn more.