OSHA’s Top Ten Citations, 2017: Extended Citation & Violation Data Released

Back in October, at the National Safety Council’s annual Safety Congress, we got our first look at OSHA’s Top Ten Violations list for 2017. We gave you the list in an earlier blog post just a few months ago.

But every year, OSHA follows that up with a second announcement that includes a lot more data about the violations and citations.

That information for 2017 is out now. And we’ve summarized it below.

As you’re reading the lists, remember that in a lot of cases, these violations can be avoided with proper safety and health training at your workplace.

OSHA’s 2017 Top Ten Citations: The List

Here’s the top ten list 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

OSHA’s 2017 Top Ten Citations List: Some Thoughts

For starters, and as is often true, MOST of these standards have appeared on the OSHA Top Ten list in past years too (2016, 2015, 2014, etc.)

But as they say on Sesame Street, one of these things is not like the other. Parked at #9 on the list this year is a standard that doesn’t typically appear in other years:  Fall Protection–Training Requirements (1926.503). There were 1,523 citations issued for violations of this fall protection training standard in the year. That’s no doubt because the Fall Prevention regulation itself changed and OSHA inspectors had their eyes out to see if folks had updated their training to match. For more on that, read our article on updating Fall Protection training.

Beyond that, another obvious thing to notice is that nearly all of the standards on the list had significantly fewer citations than they had the previous year (OSHA Top Ten, 2016). Why is that? I don’t know. Did we all get a lot safer? Did OSHA inspectors look less closely? Your guess is as good as mine–what do you think?

More Details on OSHA’s Top Ten Citations: Extended Citation Data

Here are the top ten violations cited, listed from the standard with the most citations to the standard with the tenth-most citations, with more details about each.

1. Fall Protection, 1926.501

Let’s take a closer look at fall protection, the fall protection standard, and the fall protection citations.

Fall Protection Resources:

Fall Protection Citation Statistics:

Total citations- 6,072, which is about 900 fewer than the previous year.

Ranking in previous year-#1 last year (same as this year)

Top Five Fall Protection Standard Sections Cited:

1926.501(b)(13)-Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.

OSHA issued 4,252 citations for this section.

1926.501(b)(1)-Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge that is 6 feet or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

OSHA issued 1,052 citations for this section.

1926.501(b)(10)-Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-sloped roofs, with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of warning line system and guardrail system, warning line system and safety net system, or warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or warning line system and safety monitoring system.

OSHA issued 588 citations for this section.

1926.501(b)(11)-Each employee on a steep roof with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling guardrail systems.

OSHA issued 484 citations for this section.

1926.501(b)(4)(i)-Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes.

Fall Protection Safety Training Suggestion:

Safety training is one good way to cut down on some of these fall protection standard violations and citations.

Here’s a sample of our online Fall Prevention and Protection training course.

2. Hazard Communication, 1910.1200

Now let’s take a closer look at Hazard Communication, the Haz-Com regulation, and the Haz-Com violations and citations.

Hazard Communication Resources:

Hazard Communication Statistics:

Total Haz-Com citations- 4,176, almost 1,500 fewer than the previous year.

Ranking in previous year- #2 last year (same as this year)

Top Five Haz-Com Standard Sections Cited–

1910.1200(e)(1)-Employers shall develop, implement, and maintain at each workplace a written Hazard Communication program.

OSHA issued 1,520 citations for this section.

1910.1200(h)(1)-Employers shall provide employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area at the time of their initial assignment, and whenever a new chemical hazard the employees have not previously been trained about is introduced into their work area. Information and training may be developed to introduce categories of hazards (e.g., flammability, carcinogenicity) or specific chemicals. Chemical-specific information must always be available through the labels and safety data sheets.

OSHA issued 1,230 citations for this section.

1910.1200(g)(8)-The employer shall maintain in the workplace copies of the required safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical, and shall ensure that they are readily accessible during each work shift.

OSHA issued 459 citations for this section.

1910.1200(g)(1)-Chemical manufacturers and importers shall obtain or develop a safety data sheet for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. Employers shall always have a safety data sheet in the workplace for each hazardous chemical which they use.

OSHA issued 337 citations for this section.

1910.122(h)(3)(iv)-The details of the hazard communication program developed by the employer, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used by their employer; the safety data sheet, including the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information.

OSHA issued 190 citations for this section.

Hazard Communication Training Suggestion

And here’s a sample of our online Hazard Communication training course.

3. Scaffolding, 1926.451

Scaffolding Resources:

Scaffolding Statistics:

Total Scaffolding citations- 3,288, about 600 fewer than the previous year.

Ranking in previous year- #3 (same as this year)

Top Five Scaffolding Sections Cited

1926.451(g)(1)-Each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level shall be protected from falling to that lower level.

OSHA issued 605 citations for this section.

1926.451(e)(1)-When scaffold platforms are more than 2 feet above or below a point of access, portable ladders, hook-on ladders, attachable ladders, stair towers (scaffold stairways/towers), stairway-type ladders (such as ladder stands), ramps, walkways, integral prefabricated scaffold access, or direct access from under another scaffold, structure, personnel hoist, or similar surface shall be used. Crossbraces shall not be used as a means of access.

OSHA issued 482 citations for this section.

1926.451(b)(1)-Each platform on all working levels of scaffolds shall be fully planked or decked between the front uprights and the guardrail supported.

OSHA issued 374 citations for this section.

1926.451(g)(1)(vii)-For all scaffolds not otherwise specified in paragraphs (g)(1)(i) through (g)(1)(4) of this section, each employee shall be protected by the use of personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems.

OSHA issued 297 citations for this section.

1926.451(c)(2)-Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall bear on base plates and mud sills or other adequate firm foundation.

OSHA issued 181 citations for this section.

Scaffolding Training Suggestions

And here’s a sample of our online Scaffolding training course.

4. Respiratory Protection, 1910.134

Respiratory Protection Resources:

Respiratory Protection Statistics:

Total Respiratory Protection citations- 3,097, about 500 fewer than the previous year.

Ranking in previous year- #4 (same as this year)

Top Five Respiratory Protection Standard Sections Cited

1910.134(e)(1)-The employer shall provide a medical evaluation to determine the employer’s ability to use a respirator, before the employee is fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace.

OSHA issued 605 citations for this section.

1910.134(c)(1)-In any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever are required by the employer, the employer shall establish and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures. The program shall be updated as necessary to reflect those changes in workplace conditions that affect respirator use.

OSHA issued 494 citations for this section.

1910.134(f)(2)-The employer shall ensure that an employee using a tight-fitting face piece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator facepiece (size, style, model, or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter.

OSHA issued 277 citations for this section.

1910.134(c)(2)(i)-An employer may provide respirators at the request of employees or permit employees to use their own respirators, if the employer determines that such respirator use will not in itself create a hazard.

OSHA issued 239 citations for this section.

1910.134(d)(1)(iii)-The employer shall select a NIOSH-certified respirator.

OSHA issued 224 citations for this section.

Respiratory Protection Training Suggestions:

We offer quite a few courses on respirators and respiratory protection. Here they are.

Online Respirator Basics Training Course

Online Respirator Medical Evaluation and Fit Testing Training Course

Online Air-Supplying Respirators Training Course

Online Air-Purifying Respirators Training Course

Online Escape Respirator and SCSR Training Course

5. Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147

Lockout/Tagout Resources:

Lockout/Tagout Statistics:

Total Lockout/Tagout citations- 2,877, about 600 fewer than the previous year

Ranking in previous year- #5 (same as this year)

Top Five Lockout/Tagout Standard Sections Cited

1910.147(c)(4)(i)-Procedures shall be developed, documented, and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy.

OSHA issued 621 citations for this section.

1910.147(c)(6)(i)-The employer shall conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedure at least annually to ensure that the procedure and the requirements of this standard are being followed.

OSHA issued x citations for this section.

1910.147(c)(1)-The employer shall establish a program consisting of energy control procedures, employee training and periodic inspections to ensure that before any employee performs any servicing or maintenance on a machine or equipment where the unexpected energizing, startup, or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury, the machine or equipment shall be isolated from the energy source and rendered inoperative.

OSHA issued 373 citations for this section.

1910.147(c)(7)(i)-The employer shall provide training to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by the employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by the employees.

OSHA issued 288 citations for this section.

1910.147(d)-Affected employees shall be notified by the employer or authorized employee of the application and removal of lockout devices. Notification shall be given before the controls are applied, and after they are removed from the machine or equipment.

OSHA issued 79 citations for this section.

Lockout/Tagout Training Suggestions

We have several courses related to lockout/tagout and control of hazardous energy. Here they are.

Online Lockout-Tagout Training Course (for authorized employees)

Online Lockout-Tagout Training Course (for affected employees)

Online Maintenance Safety Training Course

Online Line Breaking Safety Training Course

Online Blocking and Cribbing Training Course

6. Ladders, 1926.1053

Ladders Resources

Ladders Statistics:

Total Ladders violations- 2,241, about 400 fewer than the previous year

Ranking in previous year- #7 (one lower than this year)

Top Five Ladders Standard Sections Cited

1926.1053(b)(1)-When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least three feet above the upper landing surface to which the ladder is used to gain access; or, when such an extension is not possible because of the ladder’s length, then the ladder shall be secured at its top to a rigid support that will not deflect, and a grasping device, such as a grab rail, shall be provided to assist employees in mounting and dismounting the ladder.

OSHA issued 450 citations for this section

1926.1053(b)(4)-Ladders shall be used only for the purpose for which they were designed.

OSHA issued 333 citations for this section

1926.1053(b)(13)-The top or top step of a ladder shall not be used as a step.

OSHA issued 219 citations for this section

1926.1053(b)(16)-Portable ladders with structural defects shall either be immediately marked in a manner that identifies them as defective, or tagged with “Do Not Use” or similar language, and shall be withdrawn from service until repaired.

OSHA issued 108 citations for this section

1926.1053(b)(6)-Ladders shall be used only on stable and level surfaces unless secured to prevent accidental displacement.

OSHA issued 79 citations for this section

Ladders Training Suggestion

Here is a sample of our online ladder safety training course.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178

Powered Industrial Trucks Resources:

Powered Industrial Trucks Statistics:

Total powered industrial trucks violations- 2,162, about 700 fewer than the previous year

Ranking in previous year- #6 (one higher than this year)

Top Five Powered Industrial Trucks Standard Sections Cited

1910.178(l)(1)(i)-The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely.

OSHA issued 453 citations for this section.

1910.178(l)(4)(iii)-An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.

OSHA issued 254 citations for this section.

1910.178(p)(1)-If at any time a powered industrial truck is found to be in need of repair, defective, or in any way unsafe, the truck shall be taken out of service until it has been restored to safe operating condition.

OSHA issued 231 citations for this section.

1910.178(l)(6)-The employer shall certify that each operator be trained and evaluated.

OSHA issued 225 citations for this section.

1910.178(q)(7)-Industrial trucks shall be examined before being placed in service, and shall not be placed in service if the examination shows any condition adversely affecting the safety of the vehicle. Such examinations shall be made at least daily.

OSHA issued 170 citations for this section.

Powered Industrial Trucks Training Suggestions:

Here is a sample of our online Forklift Safety training course.

8. Machine Guarding, 1910.212

Machine Guarding Resources:

Machine Guarding Statistics:

Total machine guarding violations- 1,933, about 500 fewer than the previous year

Ranking in previous year- #9 (one lower than this year)

Top Five Machine Guarding Standard Sections Cited

1910.212(a)(1)-One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks.

OSHA issued 1,332 citations for this section.

1910.212(a)(3)(ii)-The point of operation of machines whose operation exposes an employee to injury, shall be guarded. The guarding device shall be in conformity with any appropriate standards therefor, or, in the absence of any applicable specific standards, shall be so designed and constructed as to prevent the operator from having any part of his body in the danger zone during the operating cycle.

OSHA issued 499 citations for this section.

1910.212(b)-Machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving.

OSHA issued 104 citations for this section.

1910.212(a)(2)-General requirements for machine guards. Guards shall be affixed to the machine where possible and secured elsewhere if for any other reason attachment to the machine is not possible.

OSHA issued 75 citations for this section.

1910.212(a)(5)-Exposure of blades. When the periphery of the blades of a fan is less than seven (7) feet above the floor or working level, the blades shall be guarded. The guards shall have openings no more than one-half inch.

OSHA issued 43 citations for this section.

Machine Guarding Training Suggestion:

Here is a sample of our online Machine Guarding training course.

9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements

Fall Protection Resources:

Fall Protection Statistics:

Total fall protection (training) citations- 1,523. This standard wasn’t on the top ten list last year, so right off the top of our head we don’t know how this compares to the previous year, but we’ll see if we can track it down for you

Ranking in previous year-this standard wasn’t on the top ten list last year

Top Five Fall Protection (Training) Standard Sections Cited

1926.503(a)(1)-The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.

OSHA issued 1,235 citations for this section.

1926.503(b)(1)-The employer shall verify compliance with paragraph (a) of this section by preparing a written certification record. The written certification record shall contain the name or other identity of the employee trained, the date(s) of the training, and the signature of the person who conducted the training or the signature of the employer. If the employer relies on the training conducted by another employer or completed prior to the effective date of this section, the certification record shall indicate the date the employer determined the prior training was adequate rather than the date of the actual training.

OSHA issued 244 citations for this section.

1926.503(a)(2)-The employer shall assure that each employee has been trained, as necessary, by a competent person.

OSHA issued 80 citations for this section.

1926.503(c)(3)-Inadequacies in an affected employee’s knowledge or use of fall protection systems or equipment indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.

OSHA issued 62 citations for this section.

1926.503(a)(2)(iii)-The use and operation of guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, safety monitoring systems, controlled access zones, and other protection to be used.

OSHA issued 35 citations for this section.

Fall Protection Safety Training Suggestion:

Here’s a sample of our online Fall Prevention and Protection training course.

10. Electrical-Wiring Methods, 1910.305

Electrical-Wiring Methods Resources:

Electrical-Wiring Methods Statistics:

Total OSHA Electrical-Wiring violations– 1,937, a BIG drop from the 2015 total of 2,624.

Ranking in previous year– #8 (one lower than this year–this was a big drop and bears some scrutiny)

Top Five Electrical-Wiring Standard Sections Cited

1910.305(g)(1)(iv)(A)-Substitute for fixed wiring of a structure.

OSHA issued 276 citations for this section.

1910.305(g)(2)(iii)-Flexible cords may be used only in continuous lengths without splice or tap. Hard-service cords and junior hard-service cords number 14 and larger may be repaired if spliced so that the splice retains the insulation, outer sheath properties, and usage characteristics of the cord being spliced.

OSHA issued 252 citations for this section.

1910.305(b)(1)(ii)-Unused openings in cabinets, boxes, and fittings shall be effectively closed.

OSHA issued 215 citations for this section.

1910.305(b)(2)(i)-All pull boxes, junction boxes, and fittings shall be provided with covers identified for the purpose. If metal covers are used, they shall be grounded. In completed installations, each outlet box shall have a cover, faceplate, or fixture canopy. Covers of the outlet boxes having holes through which flexible cord pendants pass shall be provided with bushings designed for the purpose or shall have smooth, well-rounded surfaces on which the cord may bear.

OSHA issued 198 citations for this section.

1910.305(b)(1)(i)-Conductors entering cut-out boxes, cabinets, or fittings shall be protected from abrasion, and openings through which conducts enter shall be effectively closed.

OSHA issued 73 citations for this section.

Electrical-Wiring Methods Training Suggestions:

We have several e-learning courses related to electrical hazards. Check out the samples below.

Arc Flash Safety e-learning course.

NFPA 70E e-learning course.

Conclusion: OSHA’s Top Ten Citations, 2017 with Extended Data

We hope you found this information about OSHA’s 2017 Top Ten Citation list helpful, including all the extra data about the most violated sections of each of the 10 standards.

Watch our blog for some additional, related blog posts, including OSHA’s biggest penalties and more.

Before you leave, feel free to download the free guide below, and don’t forget to check out our libraries of online safety training courses and our learning management system (LMS) for safety training administration.


Effective EHS Training: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to design, create, deliver, and evaluate effective EHS training by following these best practices with our free step-by-step guide.

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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 25 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center and an Instructional Design certification from the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training. Jeff frequently writes for magazines related to safety, safety training, and training and frequently speaks at conferences on the same issues, including the Washington Governor's Safety and Health Conference, the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference, the Wisconsin Safety Conference, the MSHA Training Resources Applied to Mining (TRAM) Conference, and others.

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