OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Citations

This year’s most frequently cited workplace safety violations showcase the changes and growing costs of industrial safety.

It’s back, and while the focus of this year’s most frequently cited workplace safety violations didn’t change too dramatically from 2018, some of the factors contributing to them offer perspective on the changing face of industrial safety. 

The National Safety Council and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the preliminary Top 10 as part of the NSC Congress & Expo recently held in San Diego.   

At #10, which was new to the list last year, are 1,411 citations for Personal Protection and Lifesaving equipment related to eye and face protection. More specifically, too many workers were not properly protecting themselves against flying debris and chemicals or exposing themselves to radiant energy environments, like welding. 

Coming in at #9 are the 1,743 violations related to machine guarding. It seems plants are still struggling to attach the guards in the right place and anchor them properly to protect users. As a result, worker amputations continue to be a significant safety concern.

At #8 is Fall Protection – Training Requirements. Providing and documenting the proper training materials and programs continues to be a challenge.

Holding steady at #7, thanks to 2,093 citations, is the improper use of Powered Industrial Trucks, or more specifically, the certification and qualifying of operators for fork trucks and similar vehicles.

Improper ladder use came in at #6 with 2,345 violations. The four and five positions on the countdown switched spots this year, with Respiration Protection falling after picking up 2,450 citations and Lock-Out-Tag-Out citations moving up a spot to number four with 2,606 citations. 

On the respiratory front, a lack of fit testing and overall program management contributed to its number of citations, while a lack of training and oversight of proper lock-out-tagout procedures resulted in that category’s rise.

Coming down the home stretch, there were 2,813 violations related to #3 on the list – Scaffolding. The inability to properly implement and manage a Hazard Communication program led to the #2 most cited OSHA violation, tallying over 3,600 violations.

And still leading the way, and holding the #1 position with over 6,010 violations so far is Fall Protection. This has been the number one OSHA violation for the last seven years. 

Worth noting – if all of these 31,816 citations were administered at just the minimum amount, they would still represent nearly $160 million.

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