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What Are the Most Common Safety Violations Cited By OSHA?


As an employer, it's your responsibility to ensure that your business complies with the safety standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3 million workers in the United States sustain a nonfatal injury each year while on the job. By complying with OSHA's safety standards, you can protect yourself and your workers from injury. In this post, we're going to explore some of the most common safety violations cited by OSHA.

Fall Protection

Not surprisingly, fall protection tops the list as being the most common safety violation cited by OSHA. In 2018, OSHA issued fall protection citations for over 7,200 violations. While fall protection violations have declined over the years, it's still a major concern for employers and workers alike. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with OSHA's fall protection standard.

Hazard Communication

The second-most common safety violation cited by OSHA is hazard communication. What is hazard communication exactly? Basically, this general-industry standard states that businesses should effectively communicate workplace hazards to workers. If you use or store potentially harmful chemicals in your business's workplace, you must educate workers about these chemicals. Otherwise, you could be violating the hazard communication standard.


Another common safety violation to watch for is scaffolding. Granted, not all businesses use scaffolding. But if your business uses scaffolding, you must comply with this OSHA standard. Scaffolding can reduce the risk of fall-related injuries -- but only if it's used in a proper manner. Unfortunately, many businesses overlook OSHA's scaffolding standard, only to be cited later down the road.


If your business uses machines or heavy equipment, you need to follow proper lockout/tagout procedures. This standard requires businesses to place lockout/tagout mechanisms on machines and heavy equipment. If a machine or piece of heavy equipment is being serviced, the lockout/tagout mechanism prevents it from accidentally turning on and potentially injuring the worker who's servicing it.

Respiratory Protection

Statistics show about 5 million workers in the United States are required to use respiratory protection. Respiratory protection, which generally includes the use of a respirator, is essential in protecting against harmful particulate matter or gases.

These are just a few of the most common safety violations cited by OSHA. By complying with OSHA's standards, you can protect your business from potentially costly citations.

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