February 1, 2017 | Robert Gheesling |

Top 10 OSHA Citations and How To Prevent Them

Every year OSHA releases its list of the Top 10 Health and Safety Violations. The list is based on the 10 most cited health and safety violations from the 32,000 workplace inspections OSHA completes yearly.

The troubling news is that violations on the list rarely change. In his article Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016: A Starting Point for Workplace Safety, Thomas Galassi states,

“Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.”



The Top 10 OSHA Citations:

OSHA recognizes numerous safety and health issues throughout thousands of different workplaces. But ten always seem to rank higher than any others in terms of violations cited. They include:

  1. Fall Protection: 6,929 violations
  2. Hazard Communication: 5,677 violations
  3. Scaffolds: 3,906 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection: 3,585 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout: 3,414 violations
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks: 2,860 violations
  7. Ladders: 2,639 violations
  8. Machine Guarding: 2,451 violations
  9. Electrical Wiring: 1,940 violations
  10. Electrical, General Requirements: 1,704 violations

According to National Safety Council President & CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman who spoke at the 2016 National Safety Congress & Expo:

“Every year the OSHA Top 10 serves as a guide for employers to address the biggest safety risks facing their employees. We look forward to working with employers to reduce these incidents and ensure every workplace is on a journey to safety excellence.”

Workplace safety

Fall Citations and Workplace Fall-Related Incidents:

A high volume of fall-related worker deaths and OSHA citations for a lack of fall protection, ladders and scaffolding isn’t a coincidence, according to Galassi. He also highlights the campaigns that OSHA that targets reducing these citations and, as a result, the associated injuries.

OSHA’s updated Fall Prevention Campaign stresses planning ahead, providing the right safety equipment, and training workers to safely use equipment.

Planning ahead lets employers assess the work ahead to prevent fall-related incidents instead of reacting to them. By providing the right equipment, workers have less chance of getting hurt. And with training in hazard recognition, equipment use and setup, workers are better equipped to take an active role in their own safety.


Additional OSHA Programs and Resources:

OSHA has built a comprehensive library of resources and programs to help reduce the number of violations and the related accidents, injuries, and fatalities:

The incidents that make OSHA’s top 10 list are largely preventable but the first steps to preventing them are planning, training and providing employees with the right safety equipment for the job.
(Want more tips for improving safety? Download our FREE Top Ten Compliance Tips Sheet by clicking the button below!)

compliance tip sheet
compliance tip sheet



You might also be interested in this related article:
The Top 10 OSHA Violations to Avoid

Robert Gheesling
About Robert Gheesling