OSHA's Top 10 Most Cited Violation for 2019

OSHA’S Top 10 Most Cited Safety Violations for 2019

OSHA has released it’s infamous “Top Ten Most Cited Violations,” and for the ninth year in a row, “Fall Protection - General Requirements (1926.501)” was the most cited with 5,677 total violations. Hazard communication and scaffolding both remained in their top three 2018 positions while lockout/ tagout and respiratory protection swapped places at four and five. The rest of the list mirrored 2018 with machine guarding, powered industrial trucks, fall protection - training requirements, and personal protective and life-saving equipment - eye and face protection round out the list.

While the numbers of violations have slightly decreased for some of the top ten compared to last year, the deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement program, Patrick Kapust, says that these violations are common and have been around for many years. He encourages employers to reach out and contact OSHA if they are confused or in need of clarification.

OSHA’S Top 10 2019

1. Fall Protection - General Requirements (1926.501)
Total Violations: 7,014
"Serious" violations: 5,677
2018 violations: 7,216
2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
Total Violations: 4,170
"Serious" violations: 2,754
2018 violations: 4,537
3. Scaffolding (1926.451)
Total Violations: 3,228
"Serious" violations: 2,939
2018 violations: 3,319
4. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
Total Violations: 2,975
"Serious" violations: 2,415
2018 violations: 2,923
5. Respirator Protection (1910.134)
Total Violations: 2,826
"Serious" violations: 1,902
2018 violations: 3,112
6. Ladders (1926.1053)
Total Violations: 2,766
"Serious" violations: 2,463
2018 violations: 2,780
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
Total Violations: 2,347
"Serious" violations: 1,593
2018 violations: 2,281
8. Fall Protection - Training Requirements (1926.503)
Total Violations: 2,059
"Serious" violations: 1,584
2018 violations: 1,978
9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
Total Violations: 1,987
"Serious" violations: 1,737
2018 violations: 1,969
10. Personal Protective & Life Saving Equipment - Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
Total Violations: 1,630
"Serious" violations: 1,449
2018 violations: 1,528

"Serious Violations"

What makes a violation “serious,” as defined by OSHA, is when there is a “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.” It comes as no surprise that “Fall Protection (1926.501)” ranked the highest in this category as well, with a total of 5,677. However, the number of violations did decrease from the previous year.


The Most Violated Standard


Fall Protection - General Requirements

Standard 1926.501 - The “duty to have fall protection”

5 Most cited sections
  1. 1926.501(b)(13) - Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure.
  2. 1926.501(b)(1) - Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
  3. 1926.501(b)(10) - Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each employee performing overhand bricklaying and related work 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels, shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or shall work in a controlled access zone.
  4. 1926.501(b)(11) - Each employee on a steep roof with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems with toeboards, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
  5. 1926.501(b)(4) - "Holes"

Penalties for violating these section standards can soar into the millions, but the real cost lies with the family and loved ones of those who have lost their lives because of employer negligence. A quick search through OSHA’s “Fatality Inspection Data” via osha.gov[3], reveals that there were more than 40 fall-related deaths within the fiscal year 2019. These fatalities all received multiple violations and penalties and are undoubtedly among those 7,014 total violations for Fall Protection - General Requirements.

Of these incidents, the nature of the fall varies. Individuals fell from the roof, from the loading dock, through skylights or openings in a roof or floor, from elevated platforms or scaffolding, from ladders, from balconies, etc. If proper protection is provided and hazards promptly addressed, future falls can be prevented.

At US Netting, we offer many products that can help save lives and prevent falls at all levels of a facility or worksite.