Here are the top 10 most-frequently cited OSHA violations in 2015.

OSHA Violations: The Top 10 Most-Frequently Cited in 2015

Health & Safety Safety

Are you aware of the top OSHA violations? Here are the most-cited violations and sections in the US, and what to look out for in your own business safety.

Citations resulting from OSHA violations are not exactly what most employers strive for as part of doing business and yet, year after year, it happens. The top ten violations on OSHA’s most-cited list in 2015 account for more than 34,000 violations nationwide, and topping the list once again is fall protection in the construction industry. Number two on OSHA’s hit list is the ever-present hazard communication standard in general industry, where employers were cited for written program violations.

According to OSHA, one in five private sector worker deaths were in construction in 2014. OSHA cites falls as being the leading cause. Overall, and across the industries, more than one worker dies on the job every two hours. OSHA reports that more than 13 workers per day never return home to their families after reporting for work in the US.

The interesting fact about OSHA’s top ten list is that it has not changed very much year over year. OSHA’s 2015 list details the same violations as the 2014 list in the same order, except for ladders now surpassing electrical wiring methods.

What does this mean? The top ten most-cited OSHA violations list offers employers a renewed opportunity to review their safety and health programs and to champion enhancements to these programs. By publishing the most-cited violations, OSHA highlights several considerations that can provide employers with some insight when reviewing their own facility’s safety standards.

Whether you are a small employer or a larger company, OHSA’s list of most-cited violations can provide you with a starting point for planning or revising your own safety protocols.

Top 10 Most-Cited OSHA Violations for 2015

1. Fall Protection in Construction (29 CFR 1926.501)

This violation earned the No. 1 ranking in both 2014 and 2015, and the top two sections cited by OSHA within this standard are 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) – Residential construction and 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(1) – Unprotected sides and edges. This violation rose by just under 600 times from 2014 to 2015.

2. Hazard Communication in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)

Ranking second both years, citations 29 CFR 1910.1200(e)(1) – Develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program and 29 CFR 1910.1200 (h)(1) – Provide workers effective information and training on hazardous chemicals earned a whopping 5,192 violations in 2015.

3. Scaffolding in Construction (29 CFR 1926.451)

The top two sections cited by OSHA within this standard are 29 CFR 1926.451(g)(1) – Employee fall protection above 10 feet and 29 CFR 1926.451(e)(1) – Access to scaffold platforms through means such as stairs or ladders.

4. Respiratory Protection in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.134)

Both 29 CFR 1910.134(e)(1) – General requirements for medical evaluation and 29 CFR 1910.134(c)(1) – Establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures were the top two sections cited in 2015. Visit OSHA for more information on respiratory protection-specific regulations and standards in regard to shipyard, construction, marine terminals or longshoring.

5. Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.147)

For this violation, 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(4)(i) – Development, documentation and utilization of energy control procedures and 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(1) – Energy control program were the most-cited sections. Lockout-related incidents often go unreported, as many of the injuries can often be grouped under more commonly used classifications like burns, equipment failure, electrocutions or lack of machine guarding.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.178)

This violation ranked fifth both years, with the top two most-cited as: 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1)(i) – Ensure competency of powered industrial truck operators and 29 CFR 1910. 178(l)(4)(iii) – Conduct an evaluation of powered industrial truck operator’s performance at least once every three years.

7. Stairways and Ladders in Construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)

The only change from 2014 to 2015, this violation rose from the eighth to the seventh, with the top two sections cited by OSHA: 29 CFR 1926.1053(b)(1) – Ladder side rails must extend at least three feet above an upper landing surface and 29 CFR 1926.1053(b)(4) – Ladders shall be used only for the purpose for which they were designed.

8. Electrical – Wiring Methods in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.305)

Down one ranking in 2015 from 2014, the top two sections cited within this standard were 29 CFR 1910.305(g)(1)(iv)(A) – Flexible cords and cables cannot be used as a substitute for fixed wiring of a structure and 29 CFR 1910.305(b)(1)(ii) – Unused openings in cabinets, boxes and fittings shall be effectively closed.

9. Machine Guarding in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.212)

The top two sections cited by OSHA within this standard for 2015 were 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1) – Types of guarding and 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) – Guard the point of operation.

10. Electrical Systems Design in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.303)

This violation ranked last on the list in both 2014 and 2015, and was the only violation where the citation numbers went down — specifically from 2,056 to 1,973. The top cited sections were 29 CFR 1910.303(b)(2) – Install and use equipment in accordance with instructions included in the listing or labeling and 29 CFR 1910.303(g)(1) – Space about electrical equipment.

J.A. Rodriguez Jr.
J.A. Rodriguez Jr.

J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CSP, is the CEO of Make My Day Strategies LLC and a global Fortune 100 senior manager. Rodriguez was honored to be selected by EHS Today Magazine as one of "The 50 People Who Most Influenced environmental, health and safety in 2012-2013" and "2014 - 2015."