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OSHA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Cited Workplace Safety Standards for 2021

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It’s a new year, but one thing that will most likely stay pretty much the same is OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards as they did in 2021. Fall protection continues to remain at the top of the list – 11 years running. Followed by respiratory protection and ladders. One big change is hazard communication, which has been #2 for the past several years, but moved to #5 on this year’s list.

Here’s the list in entirety for 2021 with OSHA standard number and the total number of violations for the year and a description of each:

1. Fall protection—General requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
- Standard outlines where fall protection is required, which systems are appropriate for given situations, the proper construction and installation of safety systems, and the proper supervision of employees to prevent falls. It’s designed to protect employees on walking/working surfaces with an unprotected side or edge above six feet.

2. Respiratory protection (1910.134): 2,527 violations
- Standard directs employers on establishing or maintaining a respiratory protection program. It lists requirements for program administration; worksite-specific procedures; respirator selection; employee training; fit testing; medical evaluation; respirator use; and respirator cleaning, maintenance and repair.

3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026 violations
- Standard covers general requirements for all ladders.

4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948 violations
- Standard covers general safety requirements for scaffolding, which should be designed by a qualified person and constructed and loaded in accordance with that design. Employers are bound to protect construction workers from falls and falling objects while working on or near scaffolding at heights of 10 feet or higher.

5. Hazard communication (1910.1200): 1,947 violations
- Standard addresses chemical hazards – both those chemicals produced in the workplace and those imported into the workplace. It also governs the communication of those hazards to workers.

6. Lockout/tagout (1910.147): 1,698 violations
- Standard outlines minimum performance requirements for the control of hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment.

7. Fall protection—Training requirements (1926.503): 1,666 violations
- Standard addresses training requirements for employers in regard to fall protection.

8. Personal protective and lifesaving equipment—Eye and face protection (1926.102): 1,452 violations
- Standard addresses appropriate personal protective equipment for workers exposed to eye or face hazards, such as flying particles and chemical gases or vapors.

9. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178): 1,420 violations
- Standard covers the design, maintenance and operation of powered industrial trucks, including forklifts and motorized hand trucks. It also covers operator training requirements.

10. Machine guarding (1910.212): 1,113 violations
- Standard covers guarding of machinery to protect operators and other employees from hazards, including those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.

Tagged in: OSHA osha standards
Mr. Griffith has a received his bachelors degree in Environmental Health from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and president of Workplace Safety & Health Company. He has over 35 years of industrial hygiene, safety, loss control and consulting experience. Chemical monitoring, noise measurement, program development and management, risk assessment and computer management of health and safety data are areas of particular strength. Mr. Griffith is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at the local and national level. He is also active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

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