It’s that time of the year again—the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has released its top 10 violations for the fiscal year 2018. These violations represent citations issued by OSHA staff conducting safety inspections of workplaces to assess adherence to the federal requirements.
OSHA’s top 10 violations of 2018 are:
- Fall Protection—General Requirements: 7,720 Violations
- Hazard Communication: 4,552 Violations
- Scaffolds—General Requirements: 3,336 Violations
- Respiratory Protection: 3,118 Violations
- Lockout/Tagout: 2,944 Violations
- Ladders: 2,812 Violations
- Powered Industrial Trucks: 2,294 Violations
- Fall Protection—Training Requirements: 1,982 Violations
- Machine Guarding: 1,972 Violations
- Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment—Eye and Face Protection: 1,536 Violations
The narrative we’ve seen after examining the OSHA top 10 from 2017 and 2016 has followed a tragically repetitive path. Generally, these violations remain relatively static year-to-year. In fact, comparing the 2018 top 10 to the 2017 violations, the only change in the top 9 is that position 8 and 9 switched.
With the tenth most frequently cited violation, however, there is a substantial change. In 2017, this position was held by Electrical—Wiring Methods, but this violation has not made the list whatsoever this year. Instead, it is replaced by violations to CFR 1926.102 for Eye and Face Protection, marking the first time violations to its requirements have made it into OSHA’s top 10.
The need to protect your eyes and face should be obvious, and not even just for the especially vain. Eye protection is a concept approached from numerous facets. In fact, past editions of the voluntary consensus standard that currently exists as ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015: American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices are incorporated into CFR 1926.102 by reference.
Year after year, fall protection tops the list. Note that these violations only mark the instances in which a citation was issued for not complying with OSHA requirements. However, commensurate to the numerous violations for fall protection, falls are the leading cause of death in construction. In fact, in 2016, there were 370 fatal falls to a lower level, taking up a sizeable chunk of the 991 total construction fatalities.
Because of its importance, fall protection is required through CFR 1926.501, and failure to comply with these OSHA rules can strip the ability to ensure personnel safety from falls. Voluntary consensus standard standards like the ANSI/ASSP Z359 series help to add further guidance for worker safety related to falls.
One change between the 2017 and 2018 list of top ten violations cited by OSHA that might be overlooked is that the violations themselves are in far greater numbers than in the 2018 list. Fall Protection racked up 7,720 violations, almost two thousand more than those cited in the previous year. The others haven’t increased by as much, but they have generally gone up by hundreds of citations each.
OSHA’s top 10 violations shed light on overlooked workplace safety factors. Better comprehending the prevalent risk factors towards personnel and their tendency to persevere year after year can only help to reduce these troubling workplace hazards.