OSHA Reveals Top 10 Safety Violations

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The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) has released its annual list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards for 2022.

Some usual suspects topped the list again, reinforcing the need to recognize and address even the most mundane-seeming hazards, like falls, trips and slips. When workers suffer preventable injuries, illnesses and deaths, families and businesses suffer.

A total of 25,301 citations were issued to construction businesses following 10,146 inspections during the period. The cost of those violations surpassed $105 million, according to OSHA.

Here’s a rundown of the top violations for the fiscal year October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. The list below is compiled using worksite inspection data from all industries. This data is still preliminary.

1.      Fall Protection, construction

5,915 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1926.501

This standard applies to construction specifically, and requires that employers provide fall protection systems, such as guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems, or other protections to employees working at heights of 6 feet or greater.

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2.       Hazard Communication, general industry

2,639 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1926.1053

Employees must be informed of the hazards of all produced or imported chemicals and provided with appropriate protection measures, including container labeling and other forms or warning, safety data sheets, training and a written hazard communication plan.

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3.       Ladders, construction

2,449 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1926.1053

All ladders, including portable, fixed and job-made ladders, must be capable of supporting loads without failure.

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4.       Respiratory Protection, general industry

2,412 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1910.134

Numerous diseases and illnesses can be caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays or vapors. This standard requires employers to provide appropriate control measures, such as enclosure or confinement of the operation, or respirators or other equipment necessary to protect the employee's health. When respirators are required, the employer must also establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures.

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5.       Scaffolding, construction

2,251 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1926.451

OSHA outlines proper scaffolding design, construction and use, including criteria for supported or suspension scaffolds, safe access and placement, fall protection systems and falling object precautions that should be taken. This standard does not apply to aerial lifts covered in 1926.453.

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6.       Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), general industry

2,139 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1910.147

This standard protects workers performing service or maintenance on a machine that could unexpectedly start up or release stored energy during the service. Energy isolating devices, lockout devices or tagout devices should be used to prevent the energizing or operation of a machine until it is in a safe position.  

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7.       Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry

1,896 Violations

All employees who operate fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, and motorized hand trucks to move, raise, lower or remove objects must be trained and certified on safe use. This standard also provides general fire protection, design and maintenance requirements for the equipment.

Standard: 29 CFR 1910.178

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8.       Fall Protection Training, construction

1,762 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1926.503

Employers must train employees who might be exposed to fall hazards, including proper use of fall protection systems, guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety nets, warning line systems, safety monitoring systems, controlled access zones and other protections. Training certification records must be maintained, and retraining must be offered to employees who do not understand the skill requirements.

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9.       Eye and Face Protection, construction

1,572 Violations

Standard: 29 CFR 1926.102

This standard ensures that employees use appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to hazards such as flying particles, molten materials, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors or potentially injurious light radiation.

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10.   Machinery and Machine Guarding, general industry

1,469 Violations

Guarding should be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of guarding are barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, and electronic safety devices.

Standard: 29 CFR 1910.212

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