EVERY YEAR, OSHA cites thousands of companies for violating workplace safety regulations, but there are some standards that are cited much more than others. To educate employers on workplace dangers, the industrial safety agency publishes a list of its top 10 most-cited violations.

OSHA recently released its most frequently cited workplace violations for the year ended Sept. 30, and once again violations for failing to follow fall protection standards for employees working at heights was the number-one transgression.

This year’s top OSHA violations were cited as follows:

1. Fall Protection – General – 5,260 violations

Employers are required to protect employees working at heights and facing a risk of falling. This can include violations for ladder use, guardrails, safety nets or personal fall-arrest systems.

2. Hazard Communication – 2,424 violations

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard is designed to ensure chemical safety in the workplace. The standard requires employers to provide written safety information about any hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The standard covers training, written materials and signage for hazardous substances.

3. Respiratory Protection – 2,185 violations

This standard aims to protect workers against exposure to contaminated air with respirators or ventilation.

4. Ladders – 2,143 violations

This standard covers ladder safety in various types of environments and different types of ladders in the workplace, including distances between rungs and angles when leaning them against walls. Ladders in fixed positions must also meet OSHA load-bearing requirements. When ladders are in use, their steps must be parallel
and level.

5. Scaffolding – 2,058 violations

The standard requires employers to protect each employee on a scaffold from falling to a lower level.

6. Lockout/Tagout – 1,977 violations

This standard focuses on preventing the accidental startup of machinery while it’s turned off and being serviced. All machinery must be shut down, locked out and have a tag attached warning others not to turn the machine on, when maintenance and repairs are being conducted.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks – 1,749 violations

This standard involves posted safety requirements for the use of forklifts, motorized hand trucks and other lift trucks by employees. These vehicles’ standard operation and maintenance must meet OSHA standards for safe usage. Modifications to these vehicles must conform to OSHA safety regulations.

8. Fall Protection Training – 1,556 violations

This standard requires employers to deliver and document safety rules regarding fall prevention to employees. Employers are also required to hold regular training sessions, and all concerned employees must complete training sessions on at least an annual basis.

9. Eye and Face Protection – 1,401 violations

This standard requires that employers furnish and employees wear eye and face protection when engaged in activities that could cause injury to the face or eyes from flying debris, particles, etc.

10. Machine Guarding – 1,370 violations

This standard requires employers to install guards or shields on machines whose parts or debris can cause injuries to the operator or other nearby employees. It also requires protection from flying sparks, chips or rotating parts. Eye protection must feature detachable sides.