OSHA’s Top 10 Violations of 2018

Earlier this week at National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Houston, OSHA announced the top ten most violated standards of the 2018 fiscal year. The highly anticipated list was announced by Patrick Kapust, OSHA’s Deputy Director of the Directorate of Enforcement. At the end of every fiscal year, OSHA announces the top ten violations the federal agency found through inspections in the previous year. The 2018 fiscal year put the following violations of OSHA standards at the top of the list:

  1. Fall protection (1926.501) – 7,270 violations: Fall protection often tops the list each year with the highest number of violations. The standard requires fall protection for walking or working platforms, roofing activities, residential construction, and protection from falling through holes.
  2. Hazard communication (1910.1200) – 4,552 violations: Having a written hazard communication standard. Additionally, facilities are responsible for conducting hazardous chemical training and meeting information requirements, labeling of hazardous chemical containers according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), and providing copies of safety data sheets (SDS) in the facility.
  3. Scaffolding – General Requirements (1926.451) – 3,336 violations: Requirement for fall protection on scaffolds and each platform on working levels must be fully planked or decked and guardrail systems must be put in place.
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,118 violations: Requires a written respiratory protection program where respirators are necessary. The program must have worksite-specific procedures, medical evaluation of workers for fit testing, annual fit-testing for each type of respirator face piece used, as well as a general outline for respirator selection.
  5. Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,944 violations: Safely de-energizing and re-energizing equipment when service or maintenance is performed. Requires energy control procedures, periodic inspections of those procedures, energy control programs, the use of LOTO procedures, and training of these procedures.
  6. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,812 words: Ladders should have side rails on upper landing surfaces and secured support. Defective ladders must be properly marked and withdrawn from service until repaired. Employees are prohibited from carrying any object that may cause them to lose balance and fall.
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,294 violations: Requires safe operation of industrial trucks as well as refresher training and evaluations. Operators need to be certified, trained, and evaluated before operating industrial trucks and trucks in need of repair are taken out of service.
  8. Fall protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) – 1,982 violations: Training programs must be provided to employees who might be exposed to fall hazards along with written record of training. This includes training on guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, and other fall protections in place.
  9. Machine Guarding – General Requirement (1910.212) – 1,972 violations: Requires machines and machine areas to have guarding. These include point of operation guarding, secure anchoring of machinery, guarding of blades, and general location of a machine guard to protect employees from injury.
  10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) – 1,536 violations: providing appropriate eye and/or face protection for employees exposed to flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. There also needs to be proper storage for PPE and training in place for employees.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Fall Protection has topped the list and the fourth year the top five violations have remain unchanged for the past five years. It is the first year however, that Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and face Protection has made the list, coming in at the tenth spot. While many of these standards are repeated each year, it provides a good place for employers to start identifying hazards in their own workplace.


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