Top 10 OSHA Violations

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Top 10 OSHA Violations

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a list of the ten most frequently cited and fined violations for the fiscal year. This list of safety and health citations is compiled from nearly 32,000 workplace inspections, and the list rarely changes.

Year after year, OSHA runs into the same violations during their inspections of on-the-job hazards. This is important to note considering that many of these violations could result in fatality or severe injury. In fact, more than 4,500 workers are killed on the job each year, and around three million are injured. But these citations are easily preventable with a little bit of knowledge, training, and equipment.

For 2016, the following list of ten citations covers those most frequently viewed by OSHA inspectors.

Fall Protection (1926.501)

In 2016, there were 6,906 total Fall Protection violations. The outlines covered by OSHA include which systems are appropriate for a given situation, the proper construction, and installation of safety systems, and the proper supervision of employees to prevent falls. In particular, the outline is designed to protect employees who work above six feet in height and are dealing with an unprotected edge.

The most common violations were:

– Residential construction
– Unprotected sides/edges
– Roofing work on low-slope roofs
– Steep roofs
– Holes and skylights

Hazard Communication (1910.1200)

Hazard Communication had a total of 5,665 violations in 2016. These violations were due to how employers communicated chemical hazards—chemicals produced and imported into the workplace—to their workers.

The most common citations included:

– Implementation of a Hazcom Program
– Training
– Requirements to maintain
– Requirements to develop
– Explanation of label on shipping containers

Scaffolds (1926.451)

There were 3,900 Scaffolding citations handed out in 2016. For scaffolding, OSHA outlines general safety requirements that discuss such topics as the design of the scaffold by a qualified person and construction in accordance with that design. Under scaffolding, there is also a requirement to protect workers from falls and falling objects on or near scaffolding.

Top citations included:

– Fall protection on scaffolds more than 10 feet above a lower level
– Cross braces should not be used as means of access for scaffolds lower than two feet
– Fully planked or decked scaffold levels
– Fall arrest and guardrail systems
– Guardrail systems installed on open ends and sides of platforms.

Respiratory Protection (1910.134)

With a total of 3,573 violations in 2016, Respiratory Protection provides standards for employers in establishing and maintaining a respiratory program. The requirements include information for worksite-specific procedures, selection of respirators, employee training, fit testing, medical evaluation, respirator use, and respirator cleaning, repair, and maintenance.

The most common citations for the year were:

– Medical evaluation of respiration protection
– Using respiratory protection
– Fit testing for respirators
– Establish respiratory program
– Respiratory hazards identified and evaluated
– Lockout/Tagout

Lockout/Tagout standards received 3,406 violations last year. The standards outline the minimum performance requirements for hazardous energy while servicing or maintaining machines and equipment.

The most common violations included:

– General procedures
– An energy control program
– Periodic employer inspection
– Training

Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)

There were 2,855 violations for Powered Industrial Trucks in 2016. The OSHA standards outline the design, maintenance, and operation of powered industrial trucks, which include forklifts and hand trucks.

The most common citations were:

– Safe operation
– Operator performance evaluation every three years
– Certification
– Truck repair and maintenance
– Instruction, practical training, and evaluation of operator’s performance

Ladders (1926.1053)

There were 2,625 violations for the operation and use of Ladders. 

The most common violations included:

– Portable ladder access
– Appropriate ladder use
– Not using the top step of a stepladder
– Structural defects
– Carrying an object of load that could cause imbalance or falling.

Machine Guarding (1910.212)

With 2,448 violations, Machine Guarding was another top OSHA violation. The standards cover machinery guarding to protect operators and employees from hazards. This includes outlines regarding the point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks.

The top citations included:

– Lack of machine guarding provided to protect employees
– Point of operation
– Anchoring fixed machinery
– General requirements
– Exposure of blades when fan is less than 7 feet above the ground

Electrical Wiring (1910.305)

Electrical Wiring had a total of 1,937 violations in 2016. The standards outlined by OSHA cover the grounding of electrical equipment, wiring, and insulation. It also covered temporary wiring and splicing.

Top violations were:

– Substitute for fixed wiring of a structure
– Effectively closing openings
– Strain relief of flexible cords and cable
– Covers and canopies
– Protection of conductors from abrasion and openings

Electrical: General Requirements (1910.303)

Finally, with 1,704 violations, Electrical: General Requirements was the last OSHA violation to make the top ten list. The standards include general safety and design of electrical systems.

Top violations included:

– Installation and use
– Guarding of live parts
– Workspace requirements
– Space around electrical equipment
– Services, feeders, and branch circuits

If you’re worried that your business is at risk of any of the above OSHA violations, contact TriTech today. We do our best to accommodate last minute training requests and have staff on call 24-hours a day for help. Using either our offsite, corporate, and scheduled training courses you should be able to find the solution that works best for your business. Contact us today!

TriTech Safety & Training Inc, located in Grande Prairie is in the best position to keep you up-to-date with the essential and important industry practices for preventing avoidable accidents. For more information go to

Brian Tiedemann

Brian Tiedemann

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