On Safety

On Safety: A closer look at OSHA ‘Top 10’ violations – Part V


For the construction of buildings industry, a total of 6,276 violations were issued, of which 4,871 were cited as serious. The top violations were:

Rank OSHA standard No. of violations Standard description
1 1926.501(b)(13) 557 Residential Construction – Lack of Edge Guarding on Edges 6 Feet or More Above Lower Level
2 1926.501(b)(1) 264 Residential Construction – Lack of Leading Edge Guarding 6 Feet or More Above the Lower Level
3 1926.451(g)(2) 206 Scaffolding – Lack of a Competent Person Checking on the Scaffolding
4 1926.503(a)(1) 192 Lack of Training on Fall Hazards
5 1926.20(b)(2) 185 Failure to Conduct Frequent and Regular Inspections of the Jobsite
6 1926.453(b)(2) 183 Aerial Lifts – Extensions and Booms
7 1926.1053(b)(1) 175 Portable Ladders Not Extending at Least 3 Feet Above the Roofline
8 1926.102(a)(1) 157 Failure to Provide/Use Eye Protection
9 1926.1052(c)(1) 126 Stairways – Lack of Railing on Stairs with Four or More Risers
10 1926.451(b)(1) 106 Scaffolding – Scaffolds Not Fully Planked

As for the standards cited, the clear standout is the number of violations related to fall protection, which is also the No. 1 cited hazard in the construction industry.

The top OSHA violations in FY 2020 for the furniture-related products manufacturing industry are listed below. For this industry, a total of 1,376 violations were issued, of which 1,059 were cited as serious.

Rank OSHA standard No. of violations Standard description
1 1910.1200(e)(1) 65 Hazard Communication – Lack of a Written Program
2 1910.134(e)(1) 48 Respiratory Protection – Failure to Provide Medical Evaluation
3 1910.1200(h)(1) 40 Hazard Communication – Lack of Employee Training and Education
4 1910.134(c)(1) 34 Respiratory Protection – Lack of a Written Program
  1910.212(a)(1) 34 Machine Guarding – General Machine Guarding
  1910.213(c)(1) 34 Machine guarding – Lack of Guarding on Rip (Circular Saws)
7 1910.147(c)(4) 33 Lockout/Tagout – Lack of Written Energy Control Procedures
8 1910.22(a)(1) 26 Sanitation – Places of Employment Were Not Kept Clean and Sanitary
9 1910.134(c)(2) 25 Respiratory Protection – Voluntary Use of Respirators
10 1910.213(c)(23) 22 Machine Guarding – Rip (circular saw) Used Without a Spreader
10 1910.213(c)(3) 22 Machine Guarding – Rip (circular saw) Used Without Kickback Fingers

Most of the top cited violations for this industry centered around machine guarding issues. Part VI of this series will include the top violations in FY 2020 for three other industries – yet to be named.

This article represents the views of the authors and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

Richard Fairfax (CIH, retired 2017) joined OSHA in January 1978 and retired from the agency in 2013. At OSHA, he was a practicing field industrial hygienist, as well as the deputy director and director of enforcement programs. In 2008, Richard served as acting director of construction and, in 2010, was designated deputy assistant secretary – overseeing all field, enforcement and training operations. From 1993 through 2010, Richard wrote an industrial hygiene column entitled, “OSHA Compliance Issues” for the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. He still serves on the Editorial Review Board. Richard now works part time for NSC-ORC HSE.

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