Digging Deeper into OSHA’s Top 10 Violations of 2019

OSHA Inspection
December 17, 2019

Another year is winding down, which means OSHA has published its finalized list of its top 10 violations for 2019.

OSHA’s fiscal year ended on September 30. We share below the top 10 most frequently cited standards, as well as the most cited sections for each (The full detailed list can be found in this article).

We also provide some highlights on the top 10 at the end.

The Top 10

1) Fall Protection – General Requirements (29 CFR 1926.501 – Construction). Top cited sections:

  1. Residential construction
  2. Unprotected sides and edges
  3. Roofing work on low-slope roofs

2) Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200). Top cited sections:

  1. Written hazard communication program
  2. Information and training on hazardous chemicals
  3. Safety Data Sheets in the workplace

3) Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451 – Construction). Top cited sections:

  1. Protection from falls for employees on scaffolds more than 10 feet above a lower level
  2. Access to scaffold platforms more than 2 feet above or below a point of access
  3. Platforms on working levels of scaffolds being fully planked and decked

4) Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147). Top cited sections:

  1. Energy control procedures
  2. Training and communication
  3. Periodic inspections

5) Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134). Top cited sections:

  1. Medical evaluation to determine an employee’s ability to use a respirator
  2. Written respiratory protection program
  3. Fit tests for respirators

6) Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053 – Construction). Top cited sections:

  1. Proper use of portable ladders for access to an upper landing surface
  2. Use of ladders only for their designed purposes
  3. Not using top or top step of a stepladder as a step

7) Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178). Top cited sections:

  1. Safe operation
  2. Refresher training and evaluation
  3. Employer certification that each operator has been trained and evaluated

8) Fall Protection – Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503 – Construction). Top cited sections:

  1. Training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards
  2. Written certification record of employee training
  3. Training provided by a competent person

9) Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212). Top cited sections:

  1. Providing one or more methods of machine guarding to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards
  2. Point of operation guarding
  3. Anchoring fixed machinery

10 ) Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1926.102 – Construction). Top cited sections:

  1. Ensuring use of appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards
  2. Ensuring use of eye protection that provides side protection
  3. Ensuring that affected employees who wear prescription lenses wear eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wear eye protection that can be comfortably worn over prescription lenses

What Are the Highlights?

The 2019 top 10 list includes many highlights. Here are the key ones:

  • The 2019 list is almost identical to the 2018 list. The only difference is that the #4 and #5 spots switched places (LOTO went from #5 to #4, Respiratory Protection from #4 to #5).
  • Fall Protection is the most frequently cited standard for the ninth year in a row.
  • Fall Protection, Hazard Communication and Scaffolding have been consistently in the same top three spots for the last five years.
  • LOTO and Respiratory Protection have been consistently in the top five for the last five years.
  • Standards related to construction account for half of the top 10. This is not a surprise since construction is among the industries with the highest rates of fatal occupational injuries.

According to a Q&A with Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, “The Top 10 generally stays the same because employers are not aggressively targeting these hazards at their worksites.

Kapust also says that the Top 10 is a source of information for potential hazards in your workplace, even though it’s not a substitute for a comprehensive hazard assessment.

Being aware of the most common OSHA violations can help you better protect workers. It also helps you to better target your efforts to stay in compliance with U.S. federal regulations.



Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

Content Thought Leader