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And the winner is…? Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016

OSHA publishes an annual list of the top 10 violations for which OSHA most frequently cites employers.1 Although OSHA’s regulations cover a wide range of safety standards, all of which must be complied with, this is a valuable list for an employer to consider when developing focus points for its workplace safety program:

  1. Fall protection (particularly in residential construction)
  2. Hazard communication (including deficient training, and failing to implement a hazcom program)”)
  3. Scaffolds (including problems with fall protection, cross-braces, and adequate decking)
  4. Respiratory protection (including failing to provide respirators and free medical evaluations)
  5. Lockout/tagout (mostly for failing to establish a program that includes energy control procedures, training, and periodic inspections)
  6. Powered industrial trucks (mostly for failing to safely operate fork lifts, platform lifts, and other specialized trucks)
  7. Ladders (mostly for failing to have a ladder’s side rails extend at least three feet above the upper landing surface or be secured at its top to a rigid support)
  8. Machine guarding (mostly for failing to use methods to protect the operator and other employees in the area)
  9. Electrical wiring (including temporary wiring and splicing)
  10. Electrical, general requirements (mostly for not installing and using electrical equipment properly)

As OSHA points out, the above list changes little from year to year. OSHA issued a total of more than 35,000 citations for the above violations in 2016. Fall protection also accounted for the highest number of “serious” and “willful” violations in 2016.

Not only are these safety hazards the most frequently cited; they are also some of the leading causes of workplace injuries and deaths. As such, you can be sure that OSHA inspectors will carefully scrutinize your company’s compliance with these safety standards. It is always a good idea to have an experienced OSHA compliance specialist review your written safety rules, practices, and training programs, and the above list may be a good starting place. Having proper safety rules and programs in place is an important step to reducing employee injuries and avoiding OSHA citations.


This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.