The Year's Top 10 Workplace Safety Violations

Federal regulators again issued far fewer citations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the recent National Safety Council Safety Congress & Expo, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed its preliminary top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for the agency’s 2021 fiscal year.

The figures showed another considerable drop compared to the previous year, but the same culprit remained atop the list.

Fall protection - general requirements led the way in 2021 for the 11th straight year, with 5,295 violations β€” more than double that of the No. 2 listing, respiratory protection, at 2,427 violations. Respiratory protection moved up one spot from 2020 despite 4.6% fewer citations. 

In fact, citations were down across the board. OSHA reported a preliminary figure of 21,090 citations for 2021, down 13% from 2020 and a whopping 33.5% from 2019.

Ladders was the third most-cited violation of 2021 with 2,206 citations, followed by scaffolding (2,026) and hazard communication (1,947) to round out the top five. Hazard communication was No. 2 in 2020, but its citations fell by 39%.

Lockout/tagout repeated at No. 6 with 1,698 citations; fall protection - training requirements moved up one spot to No. 7 (1,666); personal protective and lifesaving equipment - eye and face protection also moved up a spot to No. 8 (1,452); powered industrial trucks fell two spots to No. 9 (1,420) and machine guarding repeated at No. 10 with 1,113 citations.

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