OSHA's Top 10 Safety Violations of 2016

Posted on 1/3/2017 by Roger Marks

As the Agency does each year, OSHA recently released its top 10 most cited work safety standards for 2016. Let’s review the list and see what we can learn from it.

Click here to check out an illustrated infographic that shows OSHA’s Top 10 Violations of 2016. The infographic also shows the total number of violations (estimated as of September 2016) for each of 2016’s Top 10 OSHA Violations.  

Before we get to the Top 10—we have a couple of important notes about OSHA injury reports.

1.)    At the end of each calendar year, employers must create, certify, and post an annual summary of work-related injuries and illnesses logged during the year using the OSHA 300 log. By February 1, the report must be posted in the workplace, in a spot where employees will notice it.
To find out who must post an injury report, what to include in a report, and how to certify it, read Injury Reports Must Be Posted by February 1.

2.)     In May 2016, OSHA published a Final Rule to require certain employers to submit electronic reports of injury and illness data recorded on OSHA 300 logs throughout the year. The Final Rule added other OSHA recordkeeping requirements as well. Read about that Final Rule, including who must submit electronic reports, here.
The anti-retaliation provisions in this OSHA Final Rule are the subject of some legal controversy and have faced challenges from industry groups. In December, we posted an update about the ongoing challenges to this Final Rule.

Now, on to the Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2016. If you check this list on an annual basis, you know that it doesn’t change much year-over-year. Check out last year’s list here.

10. Electrical, General Requirements (29 CFR 1910.303)

Number 10 on the list of most cited OSHA standards is the general requirements for electrical safety at 29 CFR 1910.303. The most common citations included: 
  • Installation and use of electrical equipment [§1910.303(b)(2)]
  • Guarding live parts [§1910.303(g)(2)(i)]
  • Working space requirements [§1910.303(g)(1)(ii)]

9. Electrical—Wiring methods, components, and equipment (29 CFR 1910.305)

Coming in at number 9, down one spot from last year, is OSHA’s safety standard for “electrical wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use” at 29 CFR 1910.305. The most common violations related to substitutes for fixed wiring [§1910.305(g)(1)(iv)(A)] and the requirement that “unused opening in cabinets, boxes, and fittings shall be effectively closed” [§1910.305(b)(1)(ii)]. 

8. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)

Nip points for machine guardingProtecting employees from injuries due to moving parts on machines is a crucial responsibility at general industry and construction workplaces. Machine guards must be in place under OSHA rules to protect workers from rotating parts, in-going “nip points”, and flying chips and sparks. Learn more about the machine guarding requirements here.

7. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053)

OSHA Ladder safetyMaintaining its place at number 7 on the list this year is OSHA’s safety standards for ladders in the workplace at 29 CFR 1926.1053. Top violations of this standard included portable ladder used to access an upper landing surface [§1926.1053(b)(1)] and using the top of a ladder as a step [§1926.1053(b)(13)].

Note: OSHA updated its walking/working surfaces standard with a Final Rule published on November 18, 2016, that includes revised standards for ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and much more.

The new requirements take effect January 17, 2017. In early 2017, Lion will present a limited number of live webinars to help safety managers get up to date with OSHA’s revised Walking/Working Surfaces Final Rule. Learn more about the webinar here.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks (e.g., Forklifts) (29 CFR 1910.178)

Holding on at number 6 is OSHA’s safety standard for Powered Industrial Trucks (P.I.T.s)at 29 CFR 1910.178. Common P.I.T. violations include safe operation standards at §1910.178(I)(1)(i), evaluating operators performance once every three years as required at §1910.178(I()4)(iii), and training and certification of forklift operators §1910.178(I)(6).

OSHA forklift safetyOSHA’s “Powered Industrial Truck” covers more than just your standard forklift. To understand all the vehicles regulated under this standard, check out When a Forklift Is Not a Forklift.
One of our all-time most-read Lion News articles pertains to forklifts! Check out Forklift Safety: How Much Weight Can My Forklift Carry?

New low price! Lion’s OSHA Forklift Safety online course is now only $29!

5. Lockout/Tagout or “Control of Hazardous Energy” (29 CFR 1910.147)

At number 5 again in 2016 are Lockout/Tagout violations—did we mention this list doesn’t change much year-over-year? Lockout/Tagout refers to safety requirements for the service and maintenance of equipment in which unexpected startup or release of stored energy can cause injuries.
In 2016, a furniture retailer paid $1.75 million for OSHA infractions, including Lockout/Tagout violations.

Coming in 2017: OSHA Lockout/Tagout Online Course at Stay tuned to for a new course launch announcement coming soon. 

Check out OSHA's Top 10 Safety Violations of 2016 in this informative infographic. (Click to enlarge)

OSHA Top 10 Safety Violations of 2016 Infographic

4. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)

OSHA respiratory safety trainingAt number 4 on the list is OSHA’s respiratory protection standard at 29 CFR 1910.134. The respiratory protection standard sets specific requirements for selecting, fitting, using, and performing maintenance on respirators used in the workplace. Some of the most common citations in 2016 related to the medical evaluation requirements at §1910.134(e)(1) and respirator fit testing rules at §1910.134(f)(2).

Now only $29! Lion’s OSHA Respiratory Protection Online Course guides managers and employees through the OSHA standard for selecting the proper respirator, qualitative vs. quantitative fit testing, the elements of a written OSHA respiratory protection program, and more. 

3. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451)

At workplaces where employees work on scaffolds, employers must ensure the scaffolding is properly designed and constructed and must protect employees from fall hazards during work.

OSHA’s Walking and Working Surfaces Final Rule takes effect on January 17 and includes updated rules for scaffolding and fall protection. 

2. Hazard communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)

OSHA GHS hazard communicationIn addition to failure to implement a hazard communication program [§1910.1200(e)(1)], OSHA HazCom training [§1910.1200(h)(1)] was a leading cause of civil penalties in 2016. By December 1, 2015, employers were required to update employee HazCom training by introducing elements that OSHA adopted from the UN’s Globally Harmonized System of Classifying and Labeling Chemicals, or GHS. 

Mandatory compliance with the new GHS HazCom standard began on June 1, 2015.

1. Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501)

Topping the list once again in 2016 is OSHA’s fall protection standard at 29 CFR 1926.501. While the most common citations in 2016 related to residential construction projects (§1926.501(b)(13), fall protection can impact workers in both construction and general industries.

OSHA’s 500-page Walking and Working Surfaces Final Rule makes major updates to the OSHA rules for fall protection, scaffolding, ladders, safety training requirements, PPE, and more. Join a full-time Lion instructor and OSHA expert for the Walking & Working Surfaces Final Rule Webinar on January 17 to make sure you know what it takes to keep your site in compliance with the updated OSHA standard.

Tags: and, fines, new rules, osha, OSHA Top 10, penalties

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