The Top Ten OSHA Violations in The Workplace and How To Avoid Them!

CATEGORIES: OSHA, Workplace Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of the most-cited violations of its standards across all industries every year. OSHA publishes the list to caution employers so they can make efforts to locate and restore identified hazards communicated in these and other standards before OSHA shows up. Many preventable injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace are related to these top 10 cited standards.


Top 10 OSHA Safety Violations of 2021 – In the U.S.A.

Below is a list of the top 10 most frequently named standards after inspections of worksites for the fiscal year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021)

1. Fall Protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)

Elevated workspaces present a risk for slips and falls, which may cause broken bones, spine injuries and even death. Falls are preventable, and the employer must ensure that safety measures are implemented to diminish the risks of fall hazards. Protection includes safety nets, guard rails and personal fall arrest systems. It also consists of a duty for the employer to ensure surfaces have the structural integrity to support employees

2. Respiratory Protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)

Respiratory Protection may be required if your employees are exposed to breathing hazards or poor air quality when working at job sites and are contaminated by dust, gas and vapours. Any employee using a respirator must be medically evaluated and have their respirator fit tested at regular intervals, and the equipment must have regular cleaning and repair. Employees must show they understand why the respirator is required, how it should fit, how it is used, and what to do if it fails.

3. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)

Ladder-related accidents are usually caused by employees who need help understanding how to properly use portable ladders, choose the incorrect ladder for a job, or don’t inspect ladders for damage before use. Using metal ladders near electric wires breaches safety standards, as well as using ladders in place of braces, skids, and platforms.

4. Hazard Communication, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)

OSHA hazard communication violations address missing, unavailable, or outdated data sheets clarifying the proper storage and use of on-site hazardous chemicals. Your best defence against these safety violations is regularly reviewing hazardous communication data sheets, ensuring the sheets are up-to-date and always available for reference.

5. Scaffolding, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)

When employees are working at 10 feet or higher, they must be protected. However, the type of Protection depends on the type of scaffold and whether a personal fall arrest system or guardrails are needed. Scaffolding must be designed by a qualified person and constructed according to the design provided. Employers must ensure proper footings and access points and provide adequate fall protection, including Protection from falling objects and electrical hazards.

6. Fall Protection Training, construction (29 CFR 1926.503)

Employers must keep written records of all training for any employee exposed to a falling hazard. The person conducting the training must be qualified, and employees must undergo periodic evaluations to ensure they understand the requirements adequately.

7. Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)

Control of hazardous energy is an OSHA safety topic where violations can result in severe harm or even death. A lockout or tagout device, such as a combination lock or an approved padlock, prevents machines from starting up by physically blocking the machine’s required components from engaging and functioning.

8. Eye and Face Protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.102)

Employers must provide and enforce eye and face PPE for employees working near flying particles, liquid chemicals, molten metal, acids or caustic liquids, potentially harmful light radiation, and chemical gases/vapour, including side protection when relevant.

9. Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)

Working with powerful industrial trucks such as forklifts or powered pallet jacks can present safety issues for companies. Common violations for this equipment include failing to train workers on the proper use of each type of equipment or the operation of unsafe equipment, which may involve failing to inspect equipment regularly and take it out of service when safety issues arise.

10. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general industry (29 CFR 1910.212)

Machinery and machine guarding, the tenth-most-violated OSHA standard, can be easily handled with the right equipment and safety standards. OSHA’s standard for machine guarding “is to protect the operator and other employees in the work area from hazards caused by ingoing nip points, flying chips, rotating parts and sparks.”



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Keeping an eye open for safety violations during your day-to-day operations will help keep yourself and your team safe. A continual training process keeps safety concepts fresh in your employees’ minds. At Global Hazmat, we offer both online and on-site WHMIS training and certification programs that can be taken by anyone who works with or in proximity to any hazardous products, as set out under Federal and Provincial Regulations.

Our online course catalogue makes it simple for you and your employees to train in all elements of workplace safety and other health and safety requirements. Contact us to learn more.