The Usual Suspects: OSHA's 2023 Most Violated Safety Standards

Year after year, organizations across all industries and across the nation do not meet the federal worker safety guidelines. And year after year, this oversight exposes laborers to needless injury or even death, opening organizations up to immense risk.

The proof of these conditions comes directly from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in the form of a top 10 list of most violated safety standards. The preliminary list for fiscal year 2023 has just been published—and all of the standards on the list are repeat offenders, the top 10 most wanted criminals of the compliance world.

With frightening regularity, these “usual suspects” make the list—with the only variations generally being where they are in the hierarchy of the top violations. This underscores the prevalence of rule breaking, as well as the keen eye of OSHA to catch violations.

OSHA's Safety Rules Are Stringent

And no one wants to be caught by OSHA, as penalties can be severe. As of this year, fines run up to $16,131 per violation, per day—up from $15,625. Besides a hit to the bottom line, an accident caused by unsafe operations can also severely damage an organization’s reputation, and employees and patrons alike will lose trust that the company has their well-being in mind.

Clearly the operational risks these guidelines are meant to mitigate are not going away—the presence of the same 10 standards on the violations list year after year proves it. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to this way. By consulting with, studying, and following the regulations, you can ensure compliance, including safe worksites and citation avoidance.

10 Usual Suspects in OSHA's Lineup

The top 10 most violated standards are listed below, as well as their change in ranking, where pertinent. For more information about each, click the link to read the accompanying deep-dive blog. This will allow you to begin or continue your journey toward compliance as well as financial and work health and safety.

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 
    Total Citations: 7,271 (5,980 in 2022)
    2022 Ranking: 1
    For more information about fall protection, see our "Is Fall Protection Your Safety Weak Spot?" blog post.

  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 
    Total Citations: 3,213 (2,682 in 2022) 
    2022 Ranking: 2
    To learn more about hazard communication requirements, see our "Hazard Communication Safety Requirements—And Failures" blog post.

  3. Ladders (1926.1053): 
    Total Citations: 2,978 (2,471 in 2022) 
    2022 Ranking: 3
    To learn more about ladder safety, read our "Ascending to Ladder Safety—One Rung at a Time" blog post. 

  4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 
    Total Citations: 2,859 (2,285 in 2022) 
    2022 Ranking: 5 - This change in ranking is evidence of the need for scaffolding safety, knowledge, and training.
    For more information about OSHA scaffolding safety requirements, read our "Get a Firm Foothold in Scaffolding Safety" blog post.

  5. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 
    Total Citations: 2,561 (1,420 in 2022)
    2022 Ranking: 7 - This ranking change means that powered industrial truck safety is more important than ever. More information about powered industrial trucks safety can be found in our "Put the Safety Pedal to the Metal: Powered Industrial Trucks" blog post. 

  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147):
    Total Citations: 2,554 (2,175 in 2022)
    2022 Ranking: 6
    For more about compliance with this OSHA standard, see our "4 Essentials For Your Lockout/Tagout Program" blog post. 

  7. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 
    Total Citations: 22,481 (2,527 in 2022)
    2022 Ranking: 4 - With fewer citations and a lower rank on the top 10 list, respiratory protection is something that many are taking very seriously, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Alas, more still needs to be done to ensure respiratory protection safety for all workers.
    For more respiratory protection guideline analysis, see our "Take a Deep Breath—and Maintain Respiratory Protection Compliance" blog post. 

  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 
    Total Citations: 2,112 (1,778 in 2022)
    2022 Ranking: 8
    For more on fall protection training safety, see our "No Train, No Gain: Fall Protection Safety" blog post. 

  9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102):
    Total Citations: 2,074 (1,582 in 2022)
    2022 Ranking: 9
    To learn more and help protect workers from eye and face hazards, read our "Envisioning a Safe Future with Eye and Face Protection" blog post. 

  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 
    Total Citations: 1,644 (1,488 in 2022)
    2022 Ranking: 10
    Learn more about machine guarding safety guidelines with our "Stay On Guard for Machine Guarding Safety" blog post.

Partnering to Avoid OSHA Noncompliance

Clearly, there is a need for safe, compliant workplaces—and knowledge about what exactly is required within these guidelines. For help ensuring safety and compliance this year and into the future, contact Triumvirate Environmental. We have a suite of services to help enable customers to achieve full and holistic compliance.

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