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Top 10 OSHA Violations from 2020

On February 26, 2021, OSHA announced its preliminary list of the top 10 most frequently cited workplace standards for the fiscal year 2020 (October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020).

Although the top 10 list included all of the same standards cited for the fiscal year 2019, the ranking within the top 10 list changed for several standards including the Respiratory Protection Standard which moved from the fifth position to the third. The Fall Protection Standard remains the most frequently cited OSHA standard for the 10th consecutive year.

The top 10 most frequently cited standards for the fiscal year 2020 are:

  1. Fall Protection- General Requirements(1926.501)─ There were 5,424 violations including not having adequate fall protection in residential construction, unprotected sides and edges, and lack of fall protection systems for roofing work on low-slope roofs.
  2. Hazard Communication(1910.1200)─ There were 3,199 violations including lack of developing and/or implementing a written Hazard Communication Program, lack of adequate information and training, and not maintaining readily accessible SDS.
  3. Respiratory Protection(1910.134)─ There were 2,649 violations including failure to provide a medical evaluation to determine employees’ ability to use a respirator, lack of a written Respiratory Protection Program, and failure to do initial and annual fit testing.
  4. Scaffolding(1926.451)─ There were 2,538 violations including not providing appropriate fall protection and related violations of fall protection requirements, not providing appropriate scaffold access, and not providing adequate guardrail systems.
  5. Ladders(1926.1053)─ There were 2,129 violations including improper use of portable ladders, use of ladders for a purpose for which they were not designed, and using the top or top step of a stepladder as a step.
  6. Lockout/Tagout(1910.147)─ There were 2,065 violations including not developing and/or documenting energy control procedures, lack of adequate training and communication on lockout/tagout procedures, and not conducting periodic inspections of the energy control procedures at least annually to ensure they are being followed.
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks(1910.178)─ There were 1,932 violations including inadequate operator training on the type of truck they will be driving, inadequate refresher training and evaluation, and trucks not being taken out of service that is in need of repair, are defective, or in any way unsafe.
  8. Fall Protection Training Requirements(1926.503)─ There were 1,621 violations including not providing an adequate training program for employees who might be exposed to fall hazards, not having written training certification records, and not conducting retraining.
  9. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection(1926.102)─ There were 1,369 violations including not ensuring that employees are wearing adequate eye and face protection, not ensuring that employees use eye protection with side protection, and not ensuring that employees who wear prescription lenses wear eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wear eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.
  10. Machine Guarding(1910.212)─ There were 1,313 violations including inadequate point of operation guarding, improper anchoring of fixed machinery, and not providing proper blade guarding to prevent exposure to blades.

OSHA encourages employers to use the top 10 list of violations as a guide for identifying the most significant hazards applicable to your workplace and as a tool to increase workplace safety. This list is considered preliminary as OSHA does not generally post the list of the top ten violations until after the first week in April.

For additional information about the top 10 list, or for assistance with preventing violations in your workplace and preparing for an OSHA inspection, please email [email protected].

*The preliminary top 10 list of violations is based on information presented by Patrick Kapust, Deputy Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs in a webinar with Safety+Health Magazine on Feb. 26, 2021.

This blog was written by Beth Graham, our Associate Director of Quality, Research, and Training who has been with Safety Partners Inc. for the last 11 years.

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