Lists can be useful for many things, perhaps most especially when they offer insight into ways to do something better. In what has become an annual tradition, OSHA recently released its preliminary list of top 10 safety violations for the federal fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.
In general, the list changes little from year to year. FY 2017 was no exception. The top five most-cited violations – Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection and Lockout/Tagout, respectively, ranked the same as they did in FY 2016. The sole new entry to the top-10 list for FY 2017 was Fall Protection Training Requirements, which came in at No. 9.
The announcement of the most recent preliminary list came during the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo 2017 in Indianapolis.
The agency noted that not all violations had been added to its reporting system, but said that the final list was not anticipated to change.
From greatest to least, the top 10 work safety violations as compiled by OSHA for FY 2017 were:
1. Fall Protection in construction (29 CFR 1926.501): 6,072 violations
This category’s frequently violated requirements included unprotected edges and open sides in residential construction and failure to provide fall protection on low-slope roofs.
2. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200): 4,176 violations
Topping the list of violations in Hazard Communication was not having a hazard communication program. The next most frequently violated requirement within this category was not having or not providing access to safety data sheets.
3. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451): 3,288 violations
Common violations in this category included improper access to surfaces and lack of guardrails.
4. Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134): 3,097 violations
At the top of the list in this category was failure to establish a respiratory protection program. That was followed by failure to provide medical evaluations.
5. Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147): 2,877 violations
Inadequate worker training and inspections not completed accounted for the most frequent violations in this category in FY 2017.
6. Ladders in construction (29 CFR 1926.1053): 2,241 violations
Improper use of ladders, damaged ladders, and using the top step were the most violations recorded by OSHA as it closed its books on FY 2017.
7. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178): 2,162 violations
Inadequate worker training and refresher training violations included topped the list in this category.
8. Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212): 1,933 violations
Exposure to points of operation were at the top of the types of violations within this category.
9. Fall Protection—training requirements (29 CFR 1926.503): 1,523 violations
Making its debut on the top 10 list, common violations in Fall Protection included failure to train workers in identifying fall hazards and proper use of fall protection equipment.
10. Electrical—wiring methods (29 CFR 1910.305): 1,405 violations
Violations of this standard came from most general industry sectors, including food and beverage, retail, and manufacturing.
Beyond its place as a historical record, the list can be viewed as a tool for shaping future efforts.
“I encourage folks to use this list and look at your own workplace,” said Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, who helped announce the top-10 list at the conference.