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Avoid These Top 10 OSHA Violations (Part 1)

Laundry violations one through five on OSHA’s list

ATLANTA — Now that the Biden administration has taken over power in Washington, it is anticipated that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will take on a much stronger enforcement-driven focus.

This is particularly true in light of the strong union influence that is going to be found at the Department of Labor with the addition of Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor, Jim Frederick as Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and Joseph Hughes as Deputy Assistant Secretary for pandemic at OSHA.

These three individuals all have strong ties to the international labor movement. As a result, it will be prudent of all employers, especially those in the industrial laundry industry, to be prepared for enhanced enforcement inspections by OSHA over the next four years.

This article outlines the top 10 violations cited by OSHA during inspections at laundry service facilities (NAICS Code Number 812320) and examines the primary requirements of each of the cited standards.

Numbers one through five of the top 10 most frequently cited violations are as follows.


Under this standard, employers are required to keep exit routes free from obstructions of material or equipment on either a permanent or temporary basis within the exit route. The exit must have adequate lighting and each exit must be clearly visible and marked with a sign that the word “exit.” 

Emergency safeguards such as sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire doors and exit lighting must be in proper working order at all times.


Under this standard, employers are required to protect all authorized employees performing service and maintenance on machines or equipment from the unexpected energization of machines or equipment or release of stored energy.

Employers are required to have a lockout/tagout energy control plan program that includes the development of energy control procedures for each piece of equipment or machinery that service or maintenance is performed on. The employer is required to train all authorized and affected employees as to the requirements of the energy control plan program and provide the necessary lockout tags and/or locks used to de-energize the equipment.

Finally, employers are required to conduct periodic inspections of the energy control procedures, at least annually, to ensure that the lockout/tagout procedures are being followed by both authorized and affected employees.


Under this standard, employers are required to provide one or more methods of machine guarding that protects operators and other employees in the machine area from hazards, such as those created by points of operation, and ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.

Examples identified include guarding methods such as barrier guards, two-handed tripping devices and electronic safety devices.


This statute covers all types and shapes of power transmission belts, as well as flywheels, belts, ropes, train drives, and chains and sprockets.

Employers are also required to guard all exposed horizontal shafting 7 feet or less from the floor or working platform as well as any pulleys, horizontal belts and ropes, overhead horizontal belts vertical and inclined belts.

Vertical and inclined belts, pulley belts as well as gears, sprockets and chains all less than 7 feet above the floor or platform are required to be guarded.


Under this standard, employers are required to ensure that electrical equipment is free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to the employee. Listed or labeled equipment is required to be installed and used following instructions provided by the manufacturer.

All electrical equipment is required to be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner and all unused openings in any type of box or cabinet shall be closed to protect from any electrical exposure. All disconnecting means and circuits are required to be legibly marked for their purpose unless the purpose is evident.

Also, sufficient space is required to be provided and maintained about electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment.

In addition, training requirements are spelled out as to how frequently employees who face the risk of electrical shock that is not reduced to a safe level by electrical insulation requirements need to be trained. Employers are required to train all employees to be familiar with all safety-related work practices when dealing with electricity.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion, detailing violations six through 10 on OSHA’s laundry list.