Federal OSHA’s top 10 most cited violations accounted for 24,239 violations for fiscal year 2020.
The top 10 was released by the National Safety Council during a Feb. 26 webinar, along with the number of violations, most affected industries and what inspectors are seeing other companies getting wrong:
1. Fall protection – General requirements (1926.501), 5,424 violations
This standard having the most violations was not a surprise, according to OSHA Deputy Director for its Enforcement Directorate, Patrick Kapust.
Kapust said the problems OSHA is finding under this standard involve lack of fall protection during residential construction activities, no fall protection when working around unprotected sides and edges, inappropriate fall protection on both low-slope and steep roofs.
These errors are being found among roofing, framing, masonry, commercial and institutional, and new single-family housing contractors.
2. Hazard communication (1910.1200), 3,199 violations
Inspectors are finding problems with written hazard communication programs and implementation of those programs.
“Sometimes we’ll find an employer will have a written program, but they just haven’t implemented it yet,” Kapust said. “It must be implemented in the workplace. It shouldn’t just be maintained in a notebook in the office.”
Other violations involve employee information and training, maintaining safety data sheets and making sure they are readily available, labels and other warnings and requirements to develop safety data sheets and maintain copies of them.
These are being found in manufacturing; general industry; construction, masonry and roofing contractors; automotive body, paint and interior repair and maintenance; general automotive repair; and machine shops.
3. Respiratory protection (1910.134), 2,649 violations
OSHA is seeing companies fail to perform medical evaluations for respirator use, create a written respiratory protection program, perform fit testing and a lack of meeting the general requirements of the standard.
The agency is finding these in auto body, paint and interior repair shops; cut stone and stone product manufacturing; metal coating and engraving services; masonry contractors; and nursing care facilities.
4. Scaffolding (1926.451), 2,538 violations
Employees working without fall protection, general access, plank and deck deficiencies, support to keep from tipping over and guardrail requirements were the most common violations under this standard.
OSHA found these among roofing, framing and commercial and institutional building contractors.
5. Ladders (1926.1053) 2,129 violations
Inspectors are finding violations involving use of portable ladders for purposes they weren’t designed for, tops of step ladders used as a step, failure to remove defective ladders from service and employees carrying objects that could make them lose their balance and fall.
These were found among roofing, framing, siding, masonry and new single-family housing contractors.
6. Lockout/tagout (1910.147), 2,065 violations
Violations OSHA is finding under this standard include energy control procedures for each type of equipment, general training and communication, periodic inspection of the lockout/tagout procedures to make sure they’re adequate and properly implemented and general program requirements.
The agency is finding these violations at plastic product manufacturing facilities, sawmills, machine shops, wood container and pallet manufacturing plants and fabricated metal manufacturing facilities.
7. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178), 1,932 violations
One type of violation Kapust said OSHA finds a lot involves training for safe operation of powered industrial trucks, specifically, ensuring the operator has been trained properly on the type of truck they’ll be using.
OSHA is also finding violations for refresher training and evaluation regarding that refresher training. This kind of training is required after an employee is observed operating a truck unsafely as well as every three years.
Other violations involve operator certification of training, operating an industrial truck in need of repair or service and failure to ensure trained personnel are making repairs to industrial trucks.
These violations are being found in general warehousing and storage, cut stone product manufacturing and recyclable material and merchant wholesalers.
8. Fall protection – Training requirements (1926.503), 1,621 violations
Inspectors found companies that violated this standard failed to maintain certificates of training, failed to provide training by a competent person, didn’t re-train after inadequacies were found and failed to re-train in general.
No information on industries affected is available for this category.
9. Personal protective equipment – Eye and face protection (1926.102), 1,369 violations
OSHA is finding violations on use of appropriate eye and face protection, use of appropriate eye protection providing side protection, general requirements including use of appropriate prescription lenses and criteria for protective eye and face protection.
Violations of this nature were found with construction, masonry, frame and siding contractors.
10. Machine guarding (1910.212), 1,313 violations
The types of violations OSHA is finding under this standard include points of operation guarding, anchoring of fixed machinery and general requirements.
These occur in a variety of industries such as machine shops, plastic products manufacturing and sheet metal manufacturing.
Note: All of the data on OSHA’s Top 10 is preliminary and could change as more data is collected.