OSHA's Top Ten Safety and Health Violations for 2019

By Jeremiah Wooten, Managing Partner at Inspectioneering. December 18, 2019

As each year concludes, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases its annual list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year. Although the list rarely sees substantial changes, it is important for employers to recognize these common violations and implement the necessary procedures to protect their employees. By creating a culture of safety in the workplace, starting with these 10 most common violations, companies can significantly reduce the number of on-the-job injuries and fatalities that occur annually.

While the 2019 list has not changed much since 2018, it should be noted that #4 (Lockout/Tagout) and #5 (Respiratory Protection) have swapped spots this year. Moreover, Fall Protection (OSHA 29 CFR 1926.501) was the most cited standard for the ninth consecutive year. 

Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2019

1. Fall Protection (7,014 violations in FY 2019; down 706 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1926.501 – violations generally involve failing to provide adequate fall protection systems to employees working at elevated heights.

2. Hazard Communication (4,170 violations in FY 2019; down 382 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200 – violations generally involve failure to properly classify hazards and communicate them to employees.

3. Scaffolding (3,228 violations in FY 2019; down 108 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1926.451 – violations typically involve improper assembly of scaffolds, such a missing planking.

4. Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) (2,975 violations in FY 2019; up 31 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 – violations include failing to have machine specific LOTO procedures, inadequate training on procedures, and failing to conduct periodic inspections of procedures.

5. Respiratory Protection (2,826 violations in FY 2019; down 302 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 – violations are generally for employees using respirators not being medically evaluated or properly fit tested.

6. Ladders (2,766 violations in FY 2019; down 46 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1926.1053 – violations typically involve defective ladders or the improper use of portable ladders.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (2,347 violations in FY 2019; up 53 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178 – violations generally involve the unsafe use of powered industrial trucks, like a forklift.

8. Fall Protection Training Requirements (2,059 violations in FY 2019; up 77 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1926.503 – violations typically include failure to train workers on identifying fall hazards and proper use of fall protection equipment.

9. Machine Guarding (1,987 violations in FY 2019; up 15 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1910.212 – violations are generally for failing to have machines and equipment adequately guarded.

10. Personal Protective & Life Saving Equipment - Eye and Face Protection (1,630 violations in FY 2019; up 94 from the previous year)

    • OSHA 29 CFR 1926.102 – violations are generally for not having appropriate eye and face protection when exposed to eye and face hazards.


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Posted by John Reynolds on December 18, 2019
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