Top 10 OSHA Violations - Double Check Your Job Site!

A safer workplace leads to more productivity, increased efficiency, and happier workers. Preventable work injuries and job site accidents should be addressed every year to keep that possible. Luckily, OSHA publishes a list of the 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites every fiscal year. The data collected for this list was taken from October 1, 2018 - August 31, 2019.

Employers - it’s a great idea to peruse these citations, then turn to your work space and make the proper changes, before OSHA shows up for your inspection. Not only will you make your job site safer for your employees, you’ll be avoiding the hassle of those citations!


1. Fall protection (construction)
Reference: 29 CFR 1926.501
Number of violations: 6,010.
Providing fall protection has been OSHA’s #1 citation for years. It’s consistently something that is violated, however, it’s also increasingly easier to fix. Housing, roofing, framing, and masonry contractors are cited the most frequently for this violation.

2. Hazard communication standard (general industry)
Reference: 29 CFR 1910.1200
Number of violations: 3,671.
This is another violation that remains at the top, year after year. Citations are given for inadequate training, lack of a written program, and not developing or maintaining safety data sheets. The most common workplaces cited are auto repair facilities and painting contractors.

3. Scaffolding (general requirements), (construction)
Reference: 29 CFR 1926.451
Number of violations: 2,813.
Roofing, framing, siding and masonry contractors are hit hardest with this OSHA violation. A solid foundation under supported scaffolds, guardrails and proper decking will keep you from being cited.

4. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) (general industry)
Reference: 29 CFR 1910.147
Number of violations:  2,606.
Employers must provide adequate employee training for their energy control procedure. That means, they also have to have a procedure in place. Other violations come from not using lockout/tagout devices. Machine shops, sawmills, and plastics manufacturers are cited the most.

5. Respiratory protection (general industry)
Reference: 29 CFR 1910.134
Number of violations: 2,450.
Painting, wall covering, and masonry contractors were the biggest group of violators. Auto body refinishing employers were also cited a lot last fiscal year. Employers need to establish a program, perform required fit testing and medical evaluations in order for OSHA to be happy.

6. Ladders (construction)
Reference: 29 CFR 1926.1053
Number of violations: 2,345.
Ladders are pretty basic, right? Roofing, framing, siding and painting contractors seemed to have some trouble with ladders.  The most common infringements were failure to provide side rails extending 3 feet beyond the landing surface, using ladders with defects, and the top of a stepladder. Using ladders for unintended purposes also contributed to the citations.

7. Powered industrial trucks (general industry)
Reference: 29 CFR 1910.178
Number of violations: 2,093.
If your forklifts are damaged and haven’t been removed from service, you’ll be in violation. Forklift drivers must also safely operate the vehicles, be up to date with certifications, and evaluated every 3 years. Pretty much every industry felt the burn of these citations, but there were some hit a little harder. Warehouses and storage facilities, metal manufacturing plants, and framing contractors were the most commonly cited.

8. Fall protection -training requirements (construction)
Reference: 29 CFR 1926.503
Number of violations: 1,773
Every single employee that is required to receive it, must be provided training in fall protection. That training must also be certified in writing. One of the biggest concerns with OSHA is that the training was inadequate, which lead to employees (trainees) failing to retain important information.

9. Machinery and machine guarding (general requirements)
Reference: 29 CFR 1910.212
Number of violations: 1743.
Machine shops and fabricated metal manufacturing areas were the biggest violators, although nearly every industry is cited.  Some of the most common violations are: improper guarding of fan blades, failing to guard points of operation, and improper attachment of guards to machinery.

10. Eye and face protection (personal protective and lifesaving equipment) (construction)
Reference: 29 CFR 1926.102
Number of violations: 1,411.
For a second year in a row, this violation hits the top 10. OSHA cited infringements like: failing to provide eye and face protection where exposed to flying objects, not offering safety glasses with side protection, and failing overall at offering employees protection from caustic hazards, gases, and vapors.

Give your job site a once over with these citations in mind.  In fact, give it a twice over, just to be on the safe side. Happy OSHA means happy employers, and happy employers mean happy employees!  It’s the cycle of the blue collar life!

Read more and check out the official OSHA Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards List!