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The Top 10 Safety Citations in 2020

The most frequently cited workplace safety violations last year.

It’s back, and while the focus of 2020’s most frequently cited workplace safety violations didn’t change too dramatically year over year, some of the factors contributing to them offer perspective on the changing face of industrial safety.

The announcement was made just ahead of the virtual 2021 National Safety Council Conference and Expo. 

At #10, and down one spot from the previous Top 10 is Machine Guarding with 1,313 citations. While it’s encouraging to see fewer citations here, the need for speed is still, at times, outweighing proper safety precautions. As a result, worker amputations continue to be a significant concern.

Up a spot to #9 are citations for Personal Protection and Lifesaving equipment related to eye and face protection. 

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

Holding steady at #7, thanks to 1.932 citations, is the improper use of Powered Industrial Trucks, or more specifically, the certification and qualifying of operators for fork trucks and similar vehicles.

Lockout/Tagout was down from #5 to #6 with 2,065 violations. Although shortcuts are often to blame, OSHA continues to issue a number of citations associated with improper training and procedures.

Replacing it at #5 this year were 2,129 citations associated with improper usage, or a lack of, ladders. 

Down from #3 to #4 on the Top 10 is Scaffolding, with 2,538 citations.

Moving from #5 to #3 with 2,649 citations is Respiration Protection, as a lack of fit testing and overall program management contributed to the increase. 

Coming down the home stretch, there were 3,199 citations for #2 on the list - improper implementation and management of a Hazard Communication program.

And still leading the way, and holding the #1 position with 5,424 violations is Fall Protection. This has been the number one OSHA violation for the last eight years.

Although the pandemic probably played a part, it is worth noting that this total of 24,239 citations is more than 7,500 fewer than last year.  If all of these citations were administered at the minimum amount, they would still represent over $120 million.

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