STEP 1

Know OSHA's Most-Cited Hazards

While OSHA doesn’t break down its more than 70,000 or so annual inspections by industry, it does offer a list of its top 10 most-cited violations. Think of these as “trouble spots” you should concentrate on addressing

In 2016, these were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by OSHA.

Fall protection
Fall protection
Hazard communication
Hazard communication
Scaffolds
Scaffolds
Respiratory protection
Respiratory protection
Lockout/tagout
Lockout/tagout
Powered industrial trucks
Powered industrial trucks
Ladders/construction
Ladders/construction
Machine guarding
Machine guarding
Electrical wiring
Electrical wiring
Electrical systems
Electrical systems

OSHA FACT:

The number 1 violation in 2015 as well, fall protection accounted for almost 7,000 citations last year from OSHA. Almost 39% of all construction deaths in 2015 were attributed to falls.
This is a frequent top-10 violation because improper labeling is easy for inspectors to spot. New regulations went into effect in 2016 regarding labeling and employee training regarding this area.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 65% of the construction industry works on scaffolds. There were more than 3,900 violations in 2016.
An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces in the U.S. More than 3,800 violations were issued in 2016.
In 2015, there were more than $9 million in OSHA fines for lockout/tagout violations, and more than 3,400 violations in 2016.
It’s not just an OSHA violation but also a violation of federal law for anyone under age 18 to operate a forklift or over age 18 who is not properly trained to do so.
More than half of “ladder” citations are for “portable ladder access,” regarding the height of a ladder used to gain access to an upper landing surface.
More than half of the almost 2,500 annual machine guarding violations are for missing machine guarding, required to protect employees from crushed fingers, hands, amputations, flying debris, and more.
More than 1,900 violations in 2016 were in the area of “wiring methods,” which includes grounding of electrical equipment, and temporary wiring and splicing.
There were more than 1,700 violations in 2016 in this category, which covers general safety requirements for designing electrical systems. This was also on OSHA’s top-10 list in 2015.

Three out of the top 10 most-cited violations — fall protection, scaffolding, and ladders — involve construction standards. Not surprisingly, the construction industry remains among the industries most frequently inspected by OSHA. In fact, of the 4,836 worker fatalities in private industry in 2015, 21.4 percent were in the construction industry.

DID YOU KNOW?

OSHA's maximum penalty for a “serious” violation increased 78% in 2016, from $7,000 to $12,471 per violation, and again in 2017 to $12,675 per violation.

CORRECT!

Hazard information reported by government agencies, nonprofits, the media, and individuals often prompts an investigation.

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CORRECT!

Employees can request anonymity when filing complaints and such allegations often warrant OSHA follow-up.

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CORRECT!

OSHA frequently conducts follow-up inspections to previous visits, so stay prepared.

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