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Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2020

Posted on 3/8/2021 by Lauren Scott

OSHA unveiled its preliminary list of the top 10 most-cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2020 during a National Safety Council (NSC) webinar at the end of February. OSHA’s release of the top 10 list has become a staple of NSC events, normally coinciding with the annual Safety Congress & Expo.

The list of the most commonly cited violations does not change much from year to year, but remains an informative tool that safety professionals can use to identify hazards at their own facilities. The OSHA Top 10 list doesn’t cover every important workplace hazard, but it does provide an overview of the most common and costly violations for American employers.

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10..Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)

OSHA requires employers to identify workplace machinery that can cause injury to an employeeMachine injuries can occur at the point of operation, from rotating and/or moving parts, or from flying chips or sparks 

Total violations cited: 1,313

9. Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102)

Under OSHA’s personal protective equipment (PPE) Standard for the construction industry at 29 CFR 1926.102, employers must ensure that employees use eye and face protection to protect them against flying objects, splashes or drops of hazardous chemicals, and other workplace hazards that can injure the eyes and face.

Total violations cited: 1,369    

8. Fall Protection—Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)

Fall protection in the construction industry appeared at #8 on the list again this year. Construction industry employers are required to provide fall protection training to each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards—and required re-training when necessary.

Total violations cited: 1,621 

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)

Failure to properly train, certify, and re-certify forklift drivers is typically the most common reason employers are cited under OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.178 Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks.

Total violations cited: 1932

No employee may operate a forklift until he or she has been trained to safely operate it. The Forklift Safety Online Course is designed to help satisfy OSHA’s training standard for forklift operators at 29 CFR 1910.178(l).
 

6. Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147)

Lockout/Tagout is crucial in facilities where machine maintenance and servicing occur. The unexpected release of hazardous energy—“Control of Hazardous Energy” is the 29 CFR 1910.147 Standard’s proper title—can result in severe injuries, amputations, crushing, and death.

Again in this case, employee training is a 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 lockout/tagout appears on this list year after year.

Total violations cited: 2,065

5. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053)

Frequent violations of OSHA’s ladder safety Standard for the construction industry include broken or poorly maintained ladders and standing on the top step of a ladder (prohibited by §1926.1053(b)(13).

Total violations cited: 2,129

4. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451)

OSHA requirements for scaffolds in the construction industry are found at 29 CFR 1926.451 and include specific weight limitations, construction requirements, and rules for planking and decking scaffold platforms correctly.

Total violations cited: 2,538

3. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)

Under OSHA’s respiratory protection Standard for general industry, employers must complete medical evaluations, perform fit-testing to ensure respirators function properly, and train employees on proper use and maintenance.

Respiratory protection ranked at #5 last year, but jumped two places for 2020 largely because of COVID-19 related citations issued by OSHA.

Total violations cited: 2,649

Lion's COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness training can help your workers learn the basics of how coronavirus spreads and how to help protect themselves from exposure and transmission.
 

2. Hazard Communication (HazCom) (29 CFR 1910.1200)

OSHA’s HazCom Standard requires all employers to provide workers with information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Chemical hazards—from toxic gases to everyday cleaning products—are communicated using written HazCom programs, hazard labels/warnings, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and HazCom training.

In 2012, OSHA updated its HazCom Standard at 29 CFR 1910.1200 to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS).

Total violations cited: 3,199

Lion offers online OSHA HazCom training in English and Spanish.
 

1. Fall Protection—General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.501)

Topping the list once again this year is OSHA’s fall protection Standard. Common violations of this safety Standard include failure to provide proper PPE and fall arrest systems for employees.

Total violations cited: 5,424

OSHA Safety, Hazmat and HAZWOPER Training Anytime, Anywhere

From respirators and PPE to hazard communication and lithium batteries, find safety training you need to protect your staff and maintain compliance with OSHA safety standards in 29 CFR at Lion.com/OSHA. 

Courses are interactive and self-paced, and employees can stop and start as needed to fit training into their day-to-day work schedules.

Tags: HazCom, OSHA Top 10, safety, training, workplace safety

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