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Top 10 OSHA Violations for 2021

OSHA, Compliance, Safety, JJ Safety

Every year OSHA publishes the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards resulting from worksite inspections by federal OSHA. Fall Protection remains at the top of the list for the 11th consecutive year – followed by HAZCOM and respiratory protection. OSHA’s purpose for posting ‘the list’ is to bring awareness to hazards in an effort to mitigate injuries and death caused by an otherwise preventable incident. 


OSHA Top Violations 2021
1. Fall Protection, General Requirements (1926.501)

OSHA observed 5,295 violations of the Fall Protection Standard in 2021. Falls cause more deaths in construction than any other hazard. Workers performing tasks 6 feet or more above lower levels are at risk of fatal falls or serious injuries. Employers are required to ensure that job sites are free of unidentified fall hazards. The most effective way to protect workers from falls is to eliminate the fall hazard. If this is not feasible, the employer is required to use at least one of the following: elimination, guardrails, fall restraint, fall arrest and other acceptable systems. A solid Fall Protection Training program can prevent injury and death. 

2. Respiratory Protection, (1910.134)

OSHA issued 2,527 citations and violations to the Respiratory Protection Standard in 2021. The Respiratory Protection Standard requires employers to establish a respiratory program when employees are exposed to breathing hazards that cannot be mitigated below action level Permissible Exposure Levels with engineering controls. Respiratory Training can ensure proper selection, fit and use.

3. Ladders, (1926.1053)

OSHA issued 2,026 citations and violations of this standard in 2021. This standard covers the design and use requirements for ladders. A solid fall protection program, along with the proper care, selection and use of ladders can mitigate ladder related violations and injuries. 

4. Scaffolding, (1926.451)

OSHA issued 1,948 violations and citations of the Scaffolding Standard in 2021. Every employer must ensure that all employees are trained to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold being used. The scaffolding standard covers requirements for the design, use and operation and fall protection requirements of workers using scaffolding.

5. Hazard Communication, (1910.1200)

The HAZCOM Standard requires employers to classify the potential hazards of chemicals and communicating information concerning hazards and appropriate protective measures to employees, For example, developing and maintaining a written hazard communication program for the workplace, including lists of hazardous chemicals present; labeling of containers of chemicals in the workplace, as well as of containers of chemicals being shipped to other workplaces; preparation and distribution of safety data sheets to employees and downstream employers; and development and implementation of employee training programs regarding hazards of chemicals and protective measures. 

6. Lockout/Tagout, (1910.147)

OSHA issued 1,698 citations for violations of the Lockout/Tagout Standard in 2021. The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) Standard addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery of equipment, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities. Every applicable employer is required to develop, implement, and enforce an energy control written program and training to protect employees from hazardous energy sources on machines and equipment during service and maintenance. 

7. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503)

OSHA issued 1,666 citations for violations of the Fall Protection – Training Requirements standard in 2021. Every employer is required to provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. Falls remain the leading cause of death in the workplace. A solid Fall Protection Training Program will help prevent falls. Check out our previous blog on fall protection.

8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)

OSHA issued 1,452 citations for violations of the Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection Standard in 2021. Roofing contractors were the most cited trade in this category for 2021. Employers with a solid Personal Protective Equipment Training program are less likely to experience jobsite injuries.   

9. Powered Industrial Trucks  (1910.178)

OSHA issued 1,420 citations for violations of the Powered Industrial Trucks Standard. This standard includes forklifts and other motorized hand trucks. The safe operation of these vehicles was cited the most, followed by lack of training documentation of operators. Employers who implement a Forklift Training Program see far less jobsite incidents.

10. Machinery and Machine Guarding (1910.212)

OSHA issued 1,113 citations for violations of the Machinery and Machine Guarding Standard. Workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions, and over 800 deaths per year, according to OSHA. A solid Machine Guarding program that includes worker training is the best defense against work-related injury. 

How JJ Safety Can Help

JJ Safety employs OSHA certified safety professionals to develop and deploy written safety programs, safety training and certification and toolbox talks

Call 866-627-3850 or email  today to learn more.

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