OSHA’s 10 Most Cited Violations of 2016

As is the norm each year, OSHA has released its annual compilation of top 10 cited workplace safety violations. Over the years, industry leaders and employers have been using the list as a guide to help them avert any dangers that may arise from not following proper safety precautions.

The 2016 list has not changed much from the previous year’s list, meaning that employers really need to up their game to ensure that common violations such as fall protection and hazard communication are reduced.

Here’s a list of OSHA’s top 10 violations in 2016 in descending order.

10. Electrical, General Requirements (1704 citations)

Violations of the general requirements surrounding electrical devices and gadgets made it to the top ten, owing to 1704 citations. Most of the citations were as a result of electrical devices not being properly installed. Most were also not being used for the purposes they were intended for. There were also cases where the workspace around electrical devices was crowded, further increasing risk in the workplace.

9. Electrical Wiring (1940 citations)

Failure to adhere to proper electrical wiring saw to it that electrical wiring was in the 9th position, with 1940 citations. Under electrical wiring, the citations were made as a result of organizations using unsafe electrical wiring methods in place of permanent wiring. Investigators also noted that there was a general failure to use extension cords that were suitable for wet locations.

8. Machine Guarding (2451 citations)

OSHA investigators noted that industries frequently fail to adequately safeguard their machines. Failure to properly guard these machines expose workers to hazards which may result in significant injuries including amputations. The investigators further noted that the machines in some industries were not properly anchored, and the tools used to operate some of the machinery were hazardous.

7. Ladders (2639 citations)

Failure to properly use ladders or the use of defective ladders resulted in 2639 citations, making ladders the 7th item on OSHA’s 2016 list. Most of the citations were made as a result of failure to properly use portable ladders. In most occasions, ladders were not used according to the particular design and specifications that they were intended for.

6. Powered Industrial Trucks (2860 citations)

Failure to properly use powered industrial trucks can result in injuries and damage of property. OSHA investigators found that many employees who operated these powered trucks lacked adequate training and certification to do so. The investigations also revealed that there were many employees who did not take the necessary safety precautions while using the equipment.

5. Lockout/Tagout (3414 citations)

With 3414 citations, Lockout/tagout made it to position 5 of the list. OSHA investigations hinted that most of the lockout/tagout citations arose from the fact that most organization did not have proper lockout/tagout procedures in place. Interestingly, even when there were such procedures, most of the employees did not know about them.

4. Respiratory Protection (3585 citations)

Failure to put proper respiratory protection in place was again one of the most violated citations. Here, companies were cited for failure to provide their employees with medically evaluated respirators and failing to fit-test their employees for respiratory protection. In some extreme cases, employees were over-exposed to contaminants.

3. Scaffolds (3906 citations)

Scaffolding was once again the third most cited violation in the top ten OSHA list. Violations of scaffolding were common among masonry, roofing, framing and siding contractors. Most of the citations were as a result of improper scaffolding assembly and access to scaffolding.

2. Hazard Communication (5677 citations)

OSHA’s investigations found that companies failed to fully ensure employees’ safety when they had to work in an environment that was likely to expose them to chemicals. OSHA noted that in most instances, employees were not properly trained, data sheets were not properly updated, and the employers had not put in place measures to address exposure to hazardous chemicals.

1. Fall Protection (6929 citations)

Once again, fall protection was at the top of the list with 6929 citations. Most of the citations were given out to firms in the construction industry. Fatalities as a result of falls accounted for 39.9% of deaths in the industry alone. Adequate training, OSHA’s fall Prevention campaign, and the use of stand-downs have been emphasized to reduce the number of citations and accidents in the industry.