The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced the top 10
most frequently cited workplace safety violations for
fiscal year 2012. They are as follows:
1. Fall Protection: Frequently violated requirements
included failure to protect open sides and edges, to
prevent falls from roofs, and to cover holes.
2. Hazard Communication: Commonly violated requirements
included failure to have a written program, inadequate
employee education and training, improper or no labels on
containers, and no material safety data sheets (MSDS) or
lack of access to MSDS sheets.
3. Scaffolding: Violations included problems with scaffold
construction, improper access to scaffolding surfaces, and
lack of guardrails.
4. Respiratory Protection: Frequent violations included no
written respiratory protection program, poor fit-test
procedures, unsuitable respirator selection process, and
lack of procedures for voluntary use of respirators.
5. Ladders: Violations included damaged side rails, use of
the top ladder step, inappropriate ladder for the job, and
excessive loads on ladders.
6. Machine Guarding: Violations included point-of-
operation exposures, inadequate or no anchoring of fixed
machinery, and exposure to blades.
7. Powered Industrial Trucks: Common violations were
inadequate operator training and refresher training, and
poor conditions of trucks when returned to service after
8. Electrical – Wiring: Violations included problems with
flexible cords and cables, boxes, and temporary wiring;
poor use of extension cords, and using temporary wiring as
9. Lockout/Tagout: Frequent violations were poor or no
energy control procedures, inadequate worker training, and
inspections not completed.
10. Electrical – General: Common violations were related
to electric shock and electrocution exposures.
HR POINTER: The items on the list of the Top 10 safety
violations unfortunately still occur much more frequently
than anyone would like to see.
The list is a good reminder of the types of issues that
companies should take care to guard against.
Number 2 on the list (Hazard Communications) is critical
to preventing the other safety violations. Management
should take time on an annual basis to review the
company’s policies and communications to determine if they
are up to date and meet all OSHA guidelines.