Every year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of their Top 10 most frequently cited violations following inspections of various worksites across the United States.

Why Does OSHA Publish This List?

This list is published so that the public, employees, and employers can be made aware of the safety issues that are most likely to occur in the workplace. The goal of publishing this list is to bring awareness to help employers eliminate potential workplace hazards and improve practices for better worker safety. This list is intended to help avoid common accidents and to avoid facilities potentially requiring an OSHA inspection or receiving an OSHA violation. The awareness brought on by this list helps owners and employers to prepare for and understand the steps that they may need to take to fix and correct any hazards that exist in their workplace.

How Many OSHA Inspections Actually Happened During the 2020 Pandemic Year?

In 2020, OSHA conducted 21,674 inspections. This included 12,948 unprogrammed inspections, which includes employee complaints, injuries/fatalities, and referrals, all of which were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and 8,726 programmed inspections that focus OSHA’s enforcement towards industries and operations where known hazards exist (combustible dusts, chemical processing, ship-breaking, and falls in construction).

What is Typically the Top Cited OSHA Violation?

Although it was number 2 in 2020, in years prior, the Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Standard, which is in place to ensure safe chemical handling and keep employees safe by providing information about the hazards of chemicals in the workplace, was the top cited violation. In 2020 a big change was noted, however, in the amount of fall protection violations cited, including scaffolding in construction, ladders in construction, fall protection training and additionally fall protection in construction, which ended up atop the list.

Top 10 Cited Violations in 2020

  1. Fall Protection in Construction, (29 CFR 1926.501)—5,424 violations
  2. Hazard Communication Standard (HAZCOM), general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)—3,199 violations
  3. Respiratory Protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)—2,649 violations
  4. Scaffolding in construction, general requirements (29 CFR 1926.451)—2,538 violations
  5. Ladders in construction, (29 CFR 1926.1053)—2,129 violations
  6. Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)—2,065 violations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)—1,932 violations
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)—1,621 violations
  9. Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102)—1,369 violations
  10. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)—1,313 violations

Any violation of the above listed workplace standards must be taken seriously, as it can be costly to employers and even harmful or deadly to employees. It was reported that OSHA handed out over $4,000,000 in violation fines, and 5,333 workers died on the job in the past year.

If you are an employer or own a business for which any of these standards may apply and need help with compliance, contact Walden Environmental Engineering to help find and fix these potential site hazards prior to OSHA inspecting your facility.