OSHA Basics: OSHA’s Top Ten Violations/Citations, Year by Year

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If you’re new to Safety, EHS, or OSHA, you might be a fan of our OSHA Basics series of articles, which explains a number of basic OSHA concepts, ideas, programs, regulations, etc. We’ve got a full list of the articles in this series at the bottom of this article.

And, as you may have guessed, THIS is another article in our OSHA Basics series. In this one, we’re going to give you a little bit of historical information about what’s commonly known as “OSHA’s Top Ten,” which is an annual list of the 10 standard violations that OSHA wrote the most citations for in the previous year (a fiscal year, to be exact, not a calendar year).

Before you read on, there are a few things to know or that we should you remind you of. The first is that you should remember that this list changes every year. And the second is that while the list changes every year, most of the items appear on the list year after year after year.

Read on to get a bit of a historic introduction to OSHA’s Top Ten lists from recent years.

OSHA’s Top Ten: Looking Back at Recent Years

We’ve written specific articles about the OSHA’s Top Ten lists in recent years, so we’re just going to include each top 10 list and a link back to our more extended annual articles below.

Remember to come back for OSHA’s Top Ten, 2018 and beyond.

OSHA’s Top Ten, 2017

Here’s OSHA’s top ten list for 2017 plus the number of citations for each standard:

  1. Fall Protection-General Requirements (1026.501), 6,072 citations
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200), 4,176 citations
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451), 3,288 citations
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134), 3,097 citations
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147), 2,877 citations
  6. Ladders (1926.1053), 2,241 citations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178), 2,162 citations
  8. Machine Guarding (1910.212), 1,933 citations
  9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements (1926.503), 1,523 citations
  10. Electrical-Wiring Methods (1910.305), 1,405 citations

Click for a more in-depth look at OSHA’s Top Ten, 2017.

OSHA’s Top Ten, 2016

Here’s OSHA’s top ten list for 2016 plus the number of citations for each standard:

  1. Fall Protection, 1926.501, 6.906 citations
  2. Hazard Communication, 1910.1200, 5,665 citations
  3. Scaffolding, 1926.451, 3,900 citations
  4. Respiratory Protection, 1910.134, 3,573 citations
  5. Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147, 3,406 citations
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178, 2,855 citations
  7. Ladders, 1926.1053, 2,625 citations
  8. Machine Guarding, 1910.212, 2,488 citations
  9. Electrical Wiring Methods, 1910.305, 1,937 citations
  10. Electrical, General Requirements, 1910.303, 1,704 citations

Click for a more in-depth look at OSHA’s Top Ten, 2016.

OSHA’s Top Ten, 2015

Here’s OSHA’s top ten list for 2015 plus the number of citations for each standard:

  1. Fall Protection, 1926.501, 7,516 citations
  2. Hazard Communication, 1910.1200, 6,148 citations
  3. Scaffolding, 1926.451, 4,681 citations
  4. Respiratory Protection, 1910.134, 3,626 citations
  5. Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147, 3,308 citations, 3,147 citations
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178, 3,004 citations
  7. Ladders, 1926.1053, 2,732 citations
  8. Electrical-Wiring Methods, 1910.305, 2,624 citations
  9. Machine Guarding, 1910.212, 2,540 citations
  10. Electrical, General Requirements, 1910.303, 2,181 citations

Click for a more in-depth look at OSHA’s Top Ten, 2015.

OSHA’s Top Ten, 2014

  1. Fall Protection (1926.501) – 6,143 violations
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 5,161 violations
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 4,029 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 3,223 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,704 violations
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,662 violations
  7. Electrical, Wiring Methods (1910.305) – 2,490 violations
  8. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,448 violations
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 2,200 violations
  10. Electrical, General Requirements (1910.303) – 2,056 violations

Click for a more in-depth look at OSHA’s Top Ten, 2014.


Conclusion: OSHA’s Top Ten(s)

Hope you found this look at a few years’ worth of “OSHA’s Top Ten” lists helpful and informative.

Remember that this is just one article in a series we’ve dubbed OSHA Basics. Feel free to check out any of the other articles below.

And before you leave, download our free EFFECTIVE SAFETY TRAINING GUIDE, below.

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 20 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training.

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