Top 10 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Violations

Top 10 OSHA Violations

Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace. Every year, OSHA publishes a list of its top ten most frequently cited violations so that you can take steps to find and address common workplace hazards before an incident occurs. Continue reading to learn more about these common pitfalls so you can take proactive steps to ensure your workplace meets all safety requirements.

Injury and Fatality Statistics

In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a total of 5,486 fatal work injuries, a 5.7% increase from 2021. That does not even take into account the millions of people who are injured every year on worksites across the country. Employers have reported 2.8 million onsite injuries and illnesses in 2022, a staggering 7.5% increase from the year before. Accidents are on the rise, so what can be done? 

OSHA was formed to guarantee workers' safety and health by establishing and enforcing regulations, as well as providing training, outreach, information, and support. OSHA has jurisdiction over 7 million worksites in the United States, and in 2023, they carried out more than 32,000 inspections

OSHA’s Top 10 Most-Cited Safety Violations of 2023

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements 

Topping the list for the 13th consecutive year is Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501). This standard outlines requirements for fall prevention and protection systems on construction sites, including guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems. With falls being the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, it's no surprise that OSHA inspectors pay close attention to compliance with this standard.

Standard Number: 1926.501

Number of Violations: 7,271

  1. Hazard Communication

Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200) aims to ensure employees are aware of the hazards associated with the chemicals they work with. This standard requires employers to develop and maintain a written hazard communication program, including labels, safety data sheets (SDS), and employee training. With over 400,000 chemicals in use today, proper hazard communication is essential for preventing chemical exposure incidents.

Standard Number: 1910.1200

Number of Violations: 3,213

  1. Ladders 

Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053) are another common source of citations. Employers must ensure ladders are in good condition, used properly, and inspected regularly. Specific requirements include using the right type of ladder for the job, maintaining three points of contact while climbing, and securing the ladder at the top and bottom.

Standard Number: 1926.1053

Number of Violations: 2,978

  1. Scaffolding 

Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451) is another frequently cited area, especially in construction. Employers must ensure scaffolds are erected and maintained properly to prevent collapses and falls. Specific requirements include using proper materials, inspecting scaffolds before each use, and providing fall protection for workers on scaffolds.

Standard Number: 1926.451

Number of Violations: 2,859

  1. Powered Industrial Trucks 

Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178) covers forklifts and other powered material handling equipment. This standard includes requirements for operator training, safe operation practices, and vehicle maintenance.

Standard Number: 1910.178

Number of Violations: 2,561

  1. Lockout/Tagout

Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) procedures are essential for preventing injuries during equipment maintenance and repair. This standard requires employers to develop and implement procedures to isolate energy sources before working on machinery.

Standard Number: 1910.147

Number of Violations: 2,554

  1. Respiratory Protection 

Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134) protects workers from airborne contaminants like dust, fumes, and vapors. This standard requires employers to conduct an exposure assessment, provide appropriate respirators, and train employees on safe respirator use.

Standard Number: 1910.134

Number of Violations: 2,481

  1. Fall Protection – Training Requirements 

This standard specifies the training requirements for employees potentially exposed to fall hazards on construction sites. Inadequate fall protection training remains a significant concern for OSHA and a recurring violation.

Standard Number: 1926.503

Number of Violations: 2,112

  1. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection 

Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment (PPE) (29 CFR 1926.102) requirements vary depending on the specific hazards present in the workplace. However, common PPE items like gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protection must be provided and used as needed.

Standard Number: 1926.102

Number of Violations: 2,074

  1. Machine Guarding 

Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212) protects workers from hazards associated with operating machinery. This standard requires employers to guard dangerous machine parts to prevent contact with hands, hair, or clothing.

Standard Number: 1910.212

Number of Violations: 1,644

Stay Compliant, Stay Safe 

By addressing these top 10 areas, you can significantly reduce your risk of OSHA citations and create a safer workplace for your employees. Remember, OSHA compliance is not just about avoiding fines; it's about protecting your most valuable asset – your workforce.

One of the most effective ways to prevent on-the-job injuries is to ensure that all workers complete OSHA training. AdvanceOnline Solutions provides training to educate workers about workplace hazards and create a safe working environment. We provide several OSHA Outreach courses, including OSHA 10 and 30-hour Construction, as well as OSHA 10-hour for General Industry. View our full catalog on our website and enroll today!

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