As we leave 2014 behind and round the bend into 2015, it's that time of year we all wait for: annual report time. The results are in and the list of the top 10 most cited OSHA violations has been released. Spoiler alert: not much has changed.

  1. 1926.501 - Fall Protection

    For the fourth consecutive year, fall protection violations head up the list of the most cited OSHA violations. Despite its importance and potential for fatal injuries, fall protection continues to be an element of worker safety that is frequently dismissed by workers. New technologies are being introduced constantly, and fall protection systems are becoming easier to use. Systems are designed to be more applicable in a variety of workplace situations. Yet of the 796 worker deaths that occurred in construction in 2013, 294 of them were due to falls. That's 36.9% of construction related deaths. For information on selecting a fall protection system, check out Arrest or Protect: Your Guide to Choosing the Right Fall Protection System.
  2. 1910.1200 - Hazard Communication

    Continuing with the trend, for the third consecutive year, hazard communication comes in at number two on the list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards. Knowledge is the first step when it comes to prevention, but if knowledge is not shared, then prevention becomes near impossible. Whether employees are not trained initially in the potential hazards of a job, or they are not kept informed of updates and changes with regards to potential hazards, employees are not being sufficiently informed when it comes to the potential hazards of the workplace.
  3. 1926.451 - Scaffolding

    It's not surprising to see that one of the most commonly cited violations relating to the use of scaffolds in the construction industry is the under-use of fall protection. According to OSHA standards, employers are required to protect workers from falls when working on or near scaffolding at heights of 10 feet and over. Scaffolding should be designed by qualified individuals in addition to being constructed and loaded in accordance with design recommendations.
  4. 1910.134 - Respiratory Protection

    OSHA's standards for respiratory protection include directions for employers to establish and maintain a respiratory protection program. It provides requirements for implementing such programs, respirator selection, as well as employee training for fitting, use, maintenance, cleaning, and repair. In 2014, the most citations within this section were in relation to establishing and implementing a written respiratory protection program. Other cited sections include fit testing, selection of respirator, and training and information provided to employees.
  5. 1910.178 - Powered Industrial Trucks

    Totalling 3,147 violations in 2014, violations of OSHA's standards relating to powered industrial trucks jumped a place in ranking compared to last year's top 10. This standard covers the design, operation and maintenance of powered industrial trucks. This category includes forklifts as well as motorized hand trucks. The most frequently cited areas of this standard include proper training of operators as well as failure to remove unsafe equipment from service.
  6. 1910.147 - Lockout/Tagout

    Lockout/tagout violations jumped in rank during the 2014 fiscal year from 8 to 6 with 3,117 violations. This standard includes an outline of the minimum requirements for controlling hazardous energy during the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment. The number one cited area of this standard was establishing and training employees on logout/tagout procedures.
  7. 1926.1053 - Ladders

    Coming in at number seven again this year, this standard covers all general requirements for ladder use within the construction industry. Though ladders are a fairly simple piece of equipment to operate, the second most commonly cited violation with regards to ladders was using ladders for their intended and designed purpose. The top cited violation in 2014 was ladder rails extending beyond three feet of upper landing surfaces.
  8. 1910.305 - Electrical - Wiring Methods

    This standard dropped in rank when compared to last years placing at number 5. This standard covers general wiring and insulation as well as the proper grounding of electrical equipment. It also covers temporary wiring and splicing. Although quick fixes may work for the time being, they can also be extremely dangerous.
  9. 1910.212 - Machine Guarding

    This standard jumped ahead in rank from number 10 in last year's list. This standard includes the requirements for the guarding of machinery to protect operators and employees from hazards. Machine guards are designed to protect employees and operators from flying chips and sparks, nip points and rotating parts, though, their use is too frequently neglected by those they are designed to protect.
  10. 1910.303 - Electrical - General Requirements

    This standard covers all of the general safety requirements for designing electrical systems. Not surprisingly, the most commonly cited violation in this category was failure to examine electrical equipment. As with any tools, or other machinery, all electrical components should be inspected prior to use. This includes electrical cords, as well as all powered equipment and tools. When working with electrically powered tools, all manufacturers ratings and recommendations should be observed.