OSHA Violations in 2014: The Current Top 10 List of Most Commonly Cited OSHA Safety Violations

David Letterman has his Top 1- list and so does OSHA! OSHA just released the top 10 most frequently cited violations of OSHA standards for all companies and industries in 2013. OSHA made approximately 94,000 citations in 2013. This list of top 10 accounts for almost half of all violations issued by OSHA. Here it is with the regulation, a link to the exact language of the regulation and citation, a general description and the total of penalties assessed (the number of assessments is from 2013, 2014's details are not out yet, just the ranking: (sources OSHA.gov, : National Safety Council)  The NSC notes that the number of top 10 violations has increased almost 30 percent over the same time period of the prior year .

1. 1926.501 - Fall Protection -  8,241 violations. Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction.

2. 1910.1200 - Hazard Communication - 6,156 violations - Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers.

3. 1926.451 - Scaffolding5,423 - 5,423 violations - Scaffold accidents most often result from the planking or support giving way, or from the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.

4. 1910.134 - Respiratory Protection - 3,879 violations - Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases or death.

5. 1910.305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods - 3,452 violations - Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

6. 1910.178 - Powered Industrial Trucks - 3,340 violations - Each year, thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks (PIT), or forklifts, occur in US workplaces. Many employees are injured when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks, lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer, they are struck by a lift truck, or when they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.

7. 1926.1053 - Ladders - 3,311 violations - Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The US Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma.

8. 1910.147 - Lockout/Tagout - 3,254 violations - "Lockout-Tag out" refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

9. 1910.303 - Electrical, General Requirements - 2,745 violations - Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

10. 1910.212 - Machine Guarding - 2,701 violations - Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injures the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.

*As of 10/25/13


Comparison: The 2008 violations list

1. 1926.451 Scaffolding  - (same rank as 2009) - 9,093 violations - Scaffold accidents most often result from the planking or support giving way, or from the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.

2. 1926.501 Fall Protection - (same rank as 2009) - 6,771 violations

3. 1910.1200 Hazard Communication -(same rank as 2009) -  6,378 violations

4. 1910.134 Respiratory Protection - (same rank as 2009) - 3,803 violations - Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, other diseases or death.

5. 1926.1053 Ladders - (was #7 in 2009) - 3,072 violations - Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The US Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma.

6. 1910.147 Lockout/Tagout- (was #5 in 2009) - 3,321 violations - "Lockout-Tag out" refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

7. 1910.305 Electrical, Wiring Methods - (was #6 in 2009) - 3,079 violations - Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

8. 1910.178 Powered Industrial Trucks - (was #8 in 2009) - 2,993 violations - Each year, tens of thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks (PIT), or forklifts, occur in US workplaces. Many employees are injured when lift trucks are inadvertently driven off loading docks, lifts fall between docks and an unsecured trailer, they are struck by a lift truck, or when they fall while on elevated pallets and tines.

9. 1910.303 Electrical, General Requirements - (was #9 in 2009) - 2,556 violations - Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other professionals work with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers and sales people, work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.

10.  1910.212 Machine Guarding - (was #10 in 2009) - 2,364 violations - Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injures the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.


10 Year Trend

For a 10 year comparison of trends, here is the 2004 list.   Each item is prefaced with the regulation that was violated. Not a great deal of change. 

1. 29CFR1926.451 -- Scaffolding; 8,654 total violations; $3,566,107 in penalties;

2. 29CFR1910.1200 -- Hazard communication; 7,320 total violations; $745,810 in penalties;

3. 29CFR1926.501 -- Fall protection; 5,666 total violations; $3,255,974 in penalties;

4. 29CFR1910.134 -- Respiratory protection; 4,312 total violations; $562,372 in penalties;

5. 29CFR1910.147 -- Lockout/tagout; 4,307 total violations; $1,950,134 in penalties;

6. 29CFR1910.305 -- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment machine guarding; 3,337 total violations; $813,462 in penalties;

7. 29CFR1910.212 -- Machine guarding; 3,249 total violations; $2,277,629 in penalties;

8. 29CFR1910.178 -- Powered industrial trucks; 3,149 total violations; $1,084,870 in penalties;

9. 29CFR1910.303 -- Electrical systems design; 2,412 total violations; $757,568 in penalties;

10. 29CFR1910.219 -- Mechanical power-transmission apparatus; 2,333 total violations; $878,982 in penalties.

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