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10 Most Cited OSHA Violations of 2023 Revealed

Posted on 10/25/2023 by Nick Waldron and Roger Marks

OSHA's Top 10 Most Cited This Century

Watch as OSHA's Top 10 Most Cited Violations list evolves over 20+ years. The visualization below uses historic "OSHA Top 10" data collected from industry publications and news archives.

This animated chart race adds up the total number of citations as reported by OSHA for each Standard listed among the 10 Most Cited in each year from CY 2002 through 2023.

OSHA recently revealed its list of the 10 health and safety Standards employers received citations for violating most commonly in FY 2023. Regulators unveiled the annual Ten Most Cited list at the National Safety Council (NSC) Conference & Expo in October. 

As has been the case since 2018, OSHA Standards for general industry (29 CFR Part 1910) workplaces make up half of the Top 10 list for this fiscal year. Construction industry standards (Part 1926) make up the other half. 

Top 10 OSHA Violations Most Cited 2023

Fall protection violations in construction led the pack by a wide margin again in 2023, with OSHA issuing more than 7,000 citations for violations of the rules for providing fall protection equipment and ensuring its proper use and maintenance (2,000 more citations than last year). 

The 2nd most cited Standard in 2023, and the most cited for general industry, was Hazard Communication. 

The "HazCom" Standard (HCS) at 29 CFR 1910.1200 requires employers to inform and train employees about dangerous chemicals in the workplace, properly label containers, make safety data sheets available, and more. 

For all ten of the 10 Most Cited Standards this year, the preliminary data shows that OSHA inspectors issued more citations than they did in 2022—a sign that OSHA’s enforcement presence has rebounded from its pandemic-era lull.  

Past “Top 10” Lists: 

10 Most Cited OSHA Violations in 2022
10 Most Cited OSHA Violations in 2021
10 Most Cited OSHA Violations in 2020 


5 Most Cited General Industry Standards (Fiscal Year 2023)


1: Hazard Communication 3,213 citations

25% increase in citations over FY 2022.

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.


2: Forklifts/Powered Industrial Trucks 2,561 citations

32% increase in citations over FY 2022.

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.


3: Lockout/Tagout or Control of Hazardous Energy 2,544 citations

22% increase in citations over FY 2022.

The unexpected release of hazardous energy during machinery use, maintenance, and servicing can result in severe injuries, amputations, and death.

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.


4: Respiratory Protection 2,481 citations 

4% increase in citations over FY 2022.

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. The number of citations for respiratory violations increased more subtly than other categories, in part because respirator/mask use remained an OSHA priority throughout 2020—2022. 


5: Machine Guarding 1,644 citations

17% increase in citations over FY 2022.

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 the largest number of citations for violations of machine guarding requirements by far.


5 Most Cited Construction Standards for FY 2023

Fall protection violations in the construction industry topped the 10 Most Cited List once again in FY 2023. OSHA issued citations for approximately 39% more violations combined in these categories compared to FY 2022 (12,418 → 17,294).

The five most cited violations for construction employers in FY 2023 were:

  1. Fall Protection (7,271 violations)
  2. Ladders (2,978 violations)
  3. Scaffolding (2,859 violations)
  4. Fall Protection Training (2,112 violations)
  5. PPE: Eye and Face Protection (2,074 violations)

Civil Penalties and Enforcement

By law, civil penalties for OSHA violations increase with inflation annually. In January 2023, OSHA increased the maximum civil penalty for a willful or repeat violation from $145,027 to $156,259, and a similar increase will occur in just a few months.

Online Training to Prevent OSHA Violations in 2024

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:

Hazard Communication
Respiratory Protection
Forklift Safety
Lockout/Tagout

View more online safety training options at Lion.com/OSHA.

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