OSHA's Top 10 Most Cited Violations for 2016

Every year, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) releases data that outlines the most common safety and health violations of that year. OSHA provides this information in hopes that safety officers can learn from others’ mistakes and plan for the next year by implementing safety practices to not only protect their companies, but their valued co-workers. Here are the 10 most frequently cited safety and health, gathered from 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff.

1. Fall protection

Fall protection is required from an unprotected side or edge above 6 feet. Employers must plan for the construction and maintenance of proper safety systems and supervision.

Total violations: 6,906

2. Hazard communication

This standard measures against chemical hazards, whether produced internally or imported from external sources. Chemical risks must also be communicated effectively to employees so they know their risks and how to work safely.

Total violations: 5,665

3. Scaffolds

Scaffolding should be built by an export following a planned design. This applies to heights at 10 feet or greater.

Total violations: 3,900

4. Respiratory protection

Employers must have an active respiratory protection program that features worksite-specific procedures, respirator selection, employee training, fit testing, and medical evaluation. It should also cover respirator use, cleaning, repair, and maintenance.

Total violations: 3,573

5. Lockout/tagout

Hazardous energy must be safely controlled and meet performance requirements during maintenance of the equipment.

Total violations 3,406

6. Powered industrial trucks

Powered industrial trucks must have well-maintained forklifts and motorized hand trucks. Operators must follow outlined training requirements.

Total violations: 2,855

7. Ladders

All ladders, regardless of type or purpose, must follow safety guidelines outlined by OSHA.

Total violations: 2,625

8. Machine guarding

This standard is aimed to help protect operators and other employees from hazards involved in operating machinery, flying chips, rotating parts, ingoing nip parts, and sparks.

Total violations: 2,448

9. Electrical wiring

Electrical equipment should be grounded and insulated. Wiring should be complete and safe. Temporary wiring and splicing is also on the hook for this standard.

Total violations: 1,937

10. Electrical, general requirements

Design of electrical systems must follow OSHA’s safety guidelines.

Total violations: 1,704


At times, OSHA’s guidelines can seem overwhelming or hard to enforce. If you have any questions or need help creating a plan of action to bring your company up to code, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We specialize in risk management and always aim to first understand your specific goals and needs before offering our insight via a tailored risk management plan.


For more guidance on OSHA compliance, we invite you to the January Catto Safety Academy where you can arm yourself with the skills and information needed to show OSHA inspectors your organization’s commitment to safety and minimize exposure to costly penalties and fines.

At this Safety Academy You Will:

  • Gain essential skills to assess the effectiveness of your overall safety programs and determine proper levels of compliance.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of how OSHA conducts inspections (we'll conduct a virtual mock OSHA audit).
  • Know the procedure for an OSHA inspection so you can deal confidently with inspectors.
  • Learn what to expect from OSHA compliance officers.
  • Learn about violations that can affect your company and industry
  • Learn about OSHA’s process for dealing citations and violations.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the inspection process through opening and closing conferences along with understanding your rights and responsibilities.
  • Assess your organization’s level of compliance and identify any areas of weakness.

Register for the January Safety Academy here.


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