Reviewing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations can help companies identify opportunities for improvement in their safety programs.

“In a year that was defined by the ongoing pandemic, workplace safety became more important than ever…The OSHA Top 10 list reminds us why we must continue to focus on persistent safety risks as we navigate new challenges. These data help us pinpoint areas where we can improve so we can better prioritize workplace safety in the future world of work.” Lorraine M. Martin, NSC President and CEO

Although some standards swapped positions, overall, the Top 10 violations from FY 2019 to FY 2020 did not change. Ladders (1926.1053) climbed to number five and Respiratory Protection (1910.134) rose to number three. Additionally, Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) became OSHA’s most frequently cited standard for the tenth successive fiscal year.

The following summarizes OSHA’s 2020 Top 10 Violations list and a provides a brief summary of the common citations. We encourage you to use this list and our OSHA’s 2020 TOP 10 Violations Toolbox to review these violations with your employees and increase awareness.

OSHA’s 2020 Top 10 Violations List

  1. Fall Protection, General Requirements – 1926.501 – Fall protection tops the list for the tenth consecutive year with 5,424 violations. This standard is designed to protect employees from falling while walking/working on elevated surfaces and outlines when fall protection is required, various selection options, construction and installation requirements, proper use, and necessary training.
  2. Hazard Communication – 1910.1200 – Hazard communications is consistently in the top three with 3,199 violations in 2020. This standard addresses chemical hazards produced and imported into the workplace and is designed to help employers communicate what chemicals workers may use, the degree of hazard for each chemical, and how to adequately protect yourself.
  3. Respiratory Protective Equipment – 1910.134 – Respiratory protective equipment moved up from the fifth spot to the third spot with 2,649 violations. This standard outlines the requirements for users of many respiratory protection forms, including N95 particulate facepieces, and details the necessary components of a written program; requirements for a program administrator; respirator selection; employee training; medical evaluations; fit testing; and respirator inspection, use, and cleaning.
  4. Scaffolding – 1926.451 – Scaffolding moved down from the third spot to the fourth with 2,538 violations. This standard protects employees who set up and work on many types of scaffolding and covers general safety requirements, design and load requirements, worker falls and falling objects, electrical distances, and inspections.
  5. Ladders – 1926.1053 – Ladders remained in the same position with 2,129 violations. This standard outlines the general requirements for different types of ladders, including inspection, use, and training.
  6. Lock-Out/Tag-Out – 1910.147 – Lock-out/tag-out moved down from the fourth spot to the sixth spot with 2,065 violations. This standard protects workers who work on or around many types of hazardous energy sources (e.g., electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic) and requires employers to identify the types and magnitudes of energy at their workplace, methods to control hazardous energy during servicing or maintenance of equipment, and the procedures that must be followed.
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) – 1910.178 – Powered industrial trucks remained in the same position with 1,932 violations. This standard outlines requirements for users of all types of forklifts and defines what is considered a powered industrial truck, as well as inspection, maintenance, operation, and operator training requirements.
  8. Fall Protection Training – 1926.503 – Fall protection training remained in the same position with 1,621 violations. This standard addresses fall protection training requirements for fall protection, the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
  9. Eye and Face Protection – 1926.102 – Eye and face protection moved up from the tenth spot with 1,369 violations. This standard addresses the selection and use of protective equipment for workers potentially exposed to eye or face hazards such as flying particles and chemicals.
  10. Machine Guarding – 1910.212 – Machine guarding moved down from the ninth spot to number ten with 1,313 violations. This standard protects workers from at least two of the four leading causes of death, caught in/between and struck by/against equipment or machinery and covers machine guarding options and installation requirements.

RETTEW offers training and safety consulting to help prepare your workplace and prevent safety incidents and violations. Please contact Kelly Kramer, CECD, HEM, at 800.738.8395 for more information.

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