OSHA recently announced a preliminary list of the ten most cited workplace health and safety violations for fiscal year 2022. The annual "Top 10" list provides an overview of the most common and costly violations for American employers.
While OSHA’s 10 most cited violations list does not change much from one year to the next, employers can use it to identify and address workplace hazards present in a wide range of industries. OSHA also offers an online tool that will show the most frequently cited 29 CFR Standards in specific industry sectors.
Most Cited OSHA Violations in General Industry (29 CFR Part 1910)
For FY 2022, five of OSHA’s ten most cited health and safety Standards apply to general industry workplaces. The term "general industry" refers to all workplaces that are not included in construction, agriculture, or maritime. In addition to its focus on the frequently violated Standards listed below, OSHA initiated a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards in 2022
1. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires employers to provide workers with training and information about hazardous chemicals in their workplace. From toxic gases to cleaning products, chemical hazards must be communicated to employees using written HazCom programs, hazard labels/warnings, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and training.
Data from FY 2021 shows that employers in industry sectors like manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, health care, and transportation/warehousing are among those cited most frequently for HazCom violations.
Violations cited: 2,424 (Last year: 1,947)
2. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
Employers must complete medical evaluations and perform fit testing for employees who are required to wear respirators. These steps ensure that the employee can safely wear the respirator while working and that the respirator will function properly.
Training on proper respirator use and maintenance is also required. Like many of the other standards on this list, adequate employee training is a common reason that OSHA cites employers for noncompliance. Respiratory protection is the only Standard on this year's list for which OSHA issued fewer citations to general industry employers in 2022 than in 2021.
Violations cited: 2,382 (Last year: 2,527)
3. Lockout/Tagout i.e. Control of Hazardous Energy (29 CFR 1910.147)
The unexpected release of hazardous energy during machinery use, maintenance, and servicing can result in severe injuries, amputations, and death.
Employee training is a common stumbling block for employers. Failure to train employees on proper lockout/tagout procedures is one of the most common reasons OSHA issues citations—and why LOTO is a mainstay on the annual Most Cited Violations list.
Violations cited: 1,977 (Last year: 1,698)
4. Forklifts/Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
Typically, the most common reasons employers are cited for noncompliance with the forklift Standard is failing to properly train, certify, and re-certify forklift drivers. Earlier this year, OSHA proposed revised standards for design and construction of powered industrial trucks.
Violations cited: 1,749 (Last year: 1,420)
5. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)
OSHA requires employers to identify workplace machinery that can cause injury to an employee. Machine injuries can occur at the point of operation, from rotating and/or moving parts, or from flying chips or sparks. Employers in manufacturing industry sectors see far and away the largest number of citations for violations of machine guarding requirements.
Violations cited: 1,370 (Last year: 1,113)
Most Cited OSHA Violations in Construction (29 CFR Part 1926)
Fall protection violations in the construction industry topped the 10 Most Cited List once again in FY 2022. OSHA issued nearly 8,000 citations combined for violations of the general fall protection requirements (1926.501) and the rules for training employees in fall prevention (1926.503).
The five most cited violations for construction employers in FY 2022 were:
- Fall Protection (5,260 violations)
- Ladders (2,143 violations)
- Scaffolding (2,058 violations)
- Fall Protection Training (1,556 violations)
- PPE: Eye and Face Protection (1,401 violations)
Civil Penalties and Enforcement
Civil penalties for violations of OSHA health and safety Standards increase annually to keep pace with inflation. In January 2022, OSHA increased the maximum civil penalty for a willful or repeat violation to $145,027. For other violations, the maximum civil penalty is $14,502 (29 CFR 1903.15(d)).
Recently, OSHA announced expanded criteria for placing employers in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The program will now consider willful or repeat violations of all workplace health and safety standards.
Online Safety Training to Avoid Violations
Check out Lion.com/OSHA to find safety training to inform and protect your workforce. From 10-hour training for general industry workers to HazCom, HAZWOPER, and more.
Lion offers online safety training that is informative and easy-to-use, and addresses many of the top 10 most cited OSHA Standards, including:
View more online safety training options at Lion.com/OSHA.