OSHA Violations - Top 10
At the 2016 National Safety Council’s Congress & Expo, OSHA released the results of the top 10 standards most frequently cited for violations across all industries for which OSHA standards apply. OSHA issued more than 35,000 citations in its Top 10 categories during 2016.
At the conference, deputy director of OSHA'S Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, said that the results haven’t changed much over the years. While it may feel like a broken record playing over and over again, it's really an opportunity for employers to change their tune about workplace safety by proactively identifying hazards and training employees to work safely.
Kapust recommends business owners and employers take a simple approach when reviewing this list of violations. “Take the list,” Kapust said, “and look at your own workplace off of that list. ‘These are the things OSHA is finding. Would they find these at my workplace?’ It’s a good place to start.”
Here are the top OSHA standards most often cited for violations during 2016. This list doesn’t vary greatly from year to year (the top 3 are the same as last year) and this list always includes both Construction (1926) and General Industry (1910) standards.
1. Fall Protection 1926.501
Fall Protection has been the number one most cited violation for the past 6 years. The fall protection standard is designed to prevent falls, which, according to statistics, account for just about 40 percent of deaths in the construction industry. Not surprisingly, most fall accidents happen on residential work sites where there is little oversight given to fall protection requirements.
To prevent fall injuries and fatalities, it is critical that employers supply their workers with guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems when working at heights is required. In addition to just providing proper fall protection, the employer is also responsible for ensuring that all employees are trained on how to properly use fall protection and know when to use it.
OSHA has set requirements for employers to provide fall protection for their workers that are working on unstable surfaces or work sites that have unprotected sides and edges. Employers can provide fall prevention training by a competent person or they may prefer that their workers complete construction training courses that cover fall hazards and prevention at regional OSHA Training Institute Education Centers.
The sections of the Fall Protection standard that are most often cited for violations include residential construction, unprotected sides or edges, roofing work and floor holes including skylights.
2. Hazard Communication 1910.1200
The Hazard Communication standard addresses chemical hazards produced or used in the workplace. OSHA’s standard for hazard communication is in line with the international standard but this is still the #2 most cited OSHA violation. The hazard communication rule has not been properly implemented by a large percentage of businesses and it’s clear that many workers are not being trained on the new standards that went into effect in 2013.
The sections of the Hazard Communication standard that are most often cited for violations by OSHA include implementation of the hazcom program, training on hazardous materials, and requirements to develop and maintain Safety Data Sheets.
3. Scaffolding 1926.451
The OSHA Scaffolding standard covers safety requirements for scaffolding, which should be designed by a qualified person and constructed exactly in accordance with that design. Employers are required to protect all workers that use scaffolding from falls and falling objects. In addition, all scaffolds should be inspected by a competent person before use by the workers. The workers affected the most by scaffolding hazards include those in charge of framing, roofing, siding, and masonry.
The sections of the Scaffolding standard that are most often cited for OSHA violations include fall protection including guardrail systems, use of cross-braces for access, and planking/decking.
4. Respiratory Protection 1910.134
OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard directs employers on establishing and maintaining a respiratory protection program in the workplace. All aspects of respiratory protection are covered in this standard including procedures, administration, selection, training, fit testing, evaluation, use, cleaning, maintenance and repair. Employers should be familiar with OSHA’s requirements for voluntary use of respirator dust masks too!
The sections of the Respiratory Protection standard that are most often cited for violations by OSHA include medical evaluations, respiratory protection requirements, fit testing, failure to establish a necessary respiratory protection program and identifying respiratory hazards in the workplace.
5. Lockout/Tag out 1910.147
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) affects workers that service, repair and maintain equipment or machines. Hazards exist if the equipment being handled can suddenly become energized or started during work.
For companies that require LOTO procedures, these are the sections of the LOTO standard that OSHA has cited most often for violations: general procedures, energy control program, periodic inspections, and training.
To round out the Top 10 list standards with the most cited OSHA violations:
6. Powered Industrial Trucks 1910.178
7. Ladders 1926.1053
8. Machine Guarding 1910.212
9. Electrical – Wiring Methods 1910.305
10. Electrical – General Requirements 1910.303
"As an employer, what this list can do is give you a place to start," Kapust says. "You can take a look at this list, identify root causes, perform analysis and stop an injury before it occurs."
For some great infographics related to this top 10 list, visit Safety+Health Magazine’s great article on OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations.
Weeklysafety.com offers safety meeting topics and toolbox talks on each one of these standards found in the Top 10 List. If you aren’t having regular safety meetings on the standards on this list that apply to your company, then you could be at risk for an OSHA citation, injury, property damage or worse. If you are ready to boost your safety program, we can help! Click the button below to find out more about our industry-leading safety topics and how you can improve your safety program today.