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 2014. OSHA made approximately 94,000 citations in 2014. 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 2014: (sources OSHA.gov, : National Safety Council)  for Fiscal 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014). 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 (Construction standard) -  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 (Construction standard) - 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. 1910.178 - 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.

6. 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.

7. 1926.1053 - Ladders (Construction standard) - 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. 1910.305 - 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

*As of 10/25/14

Other useful OSHA statistics

Federal OSHA is a small agency; even with their state counterparts,  they have approximately 2,200 inspectors covering 130 million workers, employed at more than 8 million worksites around the nation, which is equivalent to about one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers.

Federal OSHA has 10 regional offices and 90 local area offices.

OSHA budget

FY 2013: $535,246,000
FY 2014: $552,247,000
FY 2015: $552,787,000

OSHA inspections

FY 2014 total federal inspections: 36,163
FY 2014 total State Plan inspections: 47,217

Worker injuries, illnesses and fatalities

Construction's "Fatal Four"

Out of 3,929* worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2013, 796 or 20.3% were in construction―that is, one in five worker deaths last year were in construction. The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These "Fatal Four" were responsible for more than half (58.7%) the construction worker deaths in 2013*, BLS reports. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 468 workers' lives in America every year.

Falls

 294 out of 796 total deaths in construction in calendar year 2013 (36.9%)
Struck by Object — 82 (10.3%)
Electrocutions — 71 (8.9%)
Caught-in/between — 21 (2.6%)


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.

Frequently Asked Questions About OSHA Violations And OSHA Standards