OSHA’S 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards (2021)

Every year OSHA compiles a list of the 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards.  This list pretty much remains the same.  Once in a while, a new standard makes the list or they may swap positions. Sometimes we’ll see a citation steadily move up the list.

This Top 10 List provides employers with information on hazards that are being overlooked and provides an opportunity to look for any gaps in their safety and health program.

OSHA is on a fiscal year that starts October 1 and ends September 30.  This list is for 10/1/2020 through 9/30/2021.  The number of citations in each category may increase slightly as OSHA continues to update information, but the placement of each citation will remain the same.

Top 10 OSHA Citations – 2021

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations. 

Fall Protection moved from the 2nd position in 2011 and has held the top spot ever since.  Falls are the number 1 cause of death in construction

  1. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527

When employees are required to wear a respirator, a medical clearance is needed.  In addition, employees have to be fit tested every year to ensure that the respirator seals properly on the face.  Annual training and a written program are needed.

When respirators are provided for voluntary use by employers, a medical clearance is required (responsibility of the employer to provide and pay for this exam) and the information found in Appendix D – Voluntary Use of Respirators must be provided to employees.

  1. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026

Ladders made the list in 2011 coming in at the 8th spot.  Ladder citations have continued to increase moving it up the list to 3rd position from the 5th position in 2020.

  1. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948

Since 2000, scaffolding has been in the top 4.  Most citations are due to improper placement and setup.

  1. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947

Most regulations are the result of not having a written program.

  1. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698

Not following proper LOTO safety procedures may result in the unexpected start-up of equipment which results in the release of hazardous energy. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. 

  1. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,666

This has been on the list since 2017.  Employees must be trained on the hazards of their jobs and how to protect themselves from the hazards.

  1. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,452

One of the more disturbing facts about PPE is that it is usually available on the job, just not used.

  1. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420

Most violations are due to improper operation and training.  Forklift operators need to be retrained every 3 years.

  1. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113

Employee exposure to unguarded or inadequately guarded machines is prevalent in many workplaces. Consequently, workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions, and over 800 deaths per year.

Review this list, compare it to your procedures.  Is your company in compliance?  Need help?  Have questions?  Contact Teddi Penewell at 714.717.9389 or [email protected].

Stay safe!

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