OSHA’s Top Ten List, 2018: Additional Data Released

OSHA Top Ten Citations 2018 Image

Back in October, during the annual National Safety Council Congress & Expo, OSHA announced their ten most commonly cited standards for the previous fiscal year (fiscal year 2017, in this case). You may recall that we published that OSHA’s Top Ten list as soon as it was out.

But every year, OSHA releases the Top Ten list in two forms–the shorter version they release during the NSC Congress, and then the same list with more information and data in final form in December.

As you no doubt know, it’s December, which means OSHA and the NSC has now released the updated and larger list and we’ve got all that additional information below for you.

And if you’d like a larger, more bird’s-eye view, we also have a separate article that shows the OSHA Top Ten Lists for recent years.

OSHA’s 10 Most Cited Standards–2018

The list below shows the 10 standards OSHA most commonly issued citations for during fiscal year 2017 (that’s the “OSHA’s Top Ten” list released in late 2018). We’ve got them arranged for you with the most cited standard at the top and the 10th-most cited standard on the bottom.

  1. Fall Protection–General Requirements, 1926.501; 7,270 violations
  2. Hazard Communication, 1910.1200; 4,552 violations
  3. Scaffolding, 1926.451; 3,336 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection, 1910.134; 3,118 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147; 2,944 violations
  6. Ladders, 1926.1053; 2,812 violations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178; 2,294 violations
  8. Fall Protection–Training Requirements, 1926.503; 1,982 violations
  9. Machine Guarding, 1910.212; 1,972 violations
  10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment-Eye and Face Protection, 1926.102; 1,536 violations

Top 5 Sections Cited in Each of OSHA’s Top Ten Standards

As you no doubt know, OSHA standards are broken down into sections. One of the cool things about this second Top Ten Citations list that OSHA releases is that they tell us the most commonly cited sections for each of the Top Ten most cited standards. That’s what we’re showing you below.

Fall Protection–General Requirements, 1926.501; 7,270 violations

  • 1926.501(b)(13), “Each employee engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system unless another provision in paragraph (b) of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure.” 4,570 violations
  • 1926.501(b)(1), “Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) 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.” 1,124 violations
  • 1926.501(b)(10), “Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-slope roofs, with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) 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. Or, on roofs 50-feet (15.25 m) or less in width (see Appendix A to subpart M of this part), the use of a safety monitoring system alone [i.e. without the warning line system] is permitted.” 593 violations
  • 1926.501(b)(10), “Each employee on a steep roof with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems with toeboards, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.” 427 violations
  • 1926.501(b)(4)(1), “Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 m) above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes.” 116 violations

Hazard Communication, 1910.1200; 4,552 violations

  • 1910.1200(e)(1), “Employers shall develop, implement, and maintain at each workplace, a written hazard communication program which at least describes how the criteria specified in paragraphs (f), (g), and (h) of this section for labels and other forms of warning, safety data sheets, and employee information and training will be met, and which also includes the following:” 1,510 violations
  • 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 designed to cover categories of hazards (e.g., flammability, carcinogenicity) or specific chemicals. Chemical-specific information must always be available through labels and safety data sheets.” 1,167 violations
  • 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 to employees when they are in their work area(s). (Electronic access and other alternatives to maintaining paper copies of the safety data sheets are permitted as long as no barriers to immediate employee access in each workplace are created by such options.)” 496 violations
  • 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 have a safety data sheet in the workplace for each hazardous chemical which they use.” 331 violations
  • 1910.1200(f)(6)(ii), “Product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and which, in conjunction with the other information immediately available to employees under the hazard communication program, will provide employees with the specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemical.” 195 violations

Scaffolding, 2916.451; 3,336 violations

  • 1926.451(g)(1), “Each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet (3.1 m) above a lower level shall be protected from falling to that lower level. Paragraphs (g)(1)(i) through (vii) of this section establish the types of fall protection to be provided to the employees on each type of scaffold. Paragraph (g)(2) of this section addresses fall protection for scaffold erectors and dismantlers.” 552 violations
  • 1926.451(e)(1), “When scaffold platforms are more than 2 feet (0.6 m) 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 another scaffold, structure, personnel hoist, or similar surface shall be used. Crossbraces shall not be used as a means of access.” 412 violations
  • 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 supports as follows:” 332 violations
  • 1926.451(g)(1)(iv), “Each employee on a self-contained adjustable scaffold shall be protected by a guardrail system (with minimum 200 pound toprail capacity) when the platform is supported by the frame structure, and by both a personal fall arrest system and a guardrail system (with minimum 200 pound toprail capacity) when the platform is supported by ropes;” 235 violations
  • 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.” 147 violations

Respiratory Protection, 1910.134; 3,118 violations

  • 1910.134(e)(1), “The employer shall provide a medical evaluation to determine the employee’s ability to use a respirator, before the employee is fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace. The employer may discontinue an employee’s medical evaluations when the employee is no longer required to use a respirator.” 583 violations
  • 1910.134(c)(1),“In any workplace where respirators are necessary to protect the health of the employee or whenever respirators 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. The employer shall include in the program the following provisions of this section, as applicable:” 450 violations
  • 1910.134(f)(2), “The employer shall ensure that an employee using a tight-fitting facepiece 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.”276 violations
  • 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. If the employer determines that any voluntary respirator use is permissible, the employer shall provide the respirator users with the information contained in Appendix D to this section (“Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard”); ” 209 violations
  • 1910.134(k)(6), “The basic advisory information on respirators, as presented in Appendix D of this section, shall be provided by the employer in any written or oral format, to employees who wear respirators when such use is not required by this section or by the employer.” 202 violations

Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147; 2,944 violations

  • 1910.147(c)(4)(i), “Procedures shall be developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees are engaged in the activities covered by this section.” 587 violations
  • 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.” 342 violations
  • 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.” 332 violations
  • 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 employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.”262 violations
  • 1910.147(d), “The established procedures for the application of energy control (the lockout or tagout procedures) shall cover the following elements and actions and shall be done in the following sequence:” 179 violations

Ladders, 1926.1053; 2,812 violations

  • 1926.1053(b)(1), “When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least 3 feet (.9 m) 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 grabrail, shall be provided to assist employees in mounting and dismounting the ladder. In no case shall the extension be such that ladder deflection under a load would, by itself, cause the ladder to slip off its support.” 1,599 violations
  • 1926.1053(b)(4), “Ladders shall be used only for the purpose for which they were designed.” 372 violations
  • 1926.1053(b)(13), “The top or top step of a stepladder shall not be used as a step.” 260 violations
  • 1926.1053(b)(16), “Portable ladders with structural defects, such as, but not limited to, broken or missing rungs, cleats, or steps, broken or split rails, corroded components, or other faulty or defective components, shall either be immediately marked in a manner that readily identifies them as defective, or be tagged with “Do Not Use” or similar language, and shall be withdrawn from service until repaired.” 119 violations
  • 1926.1053(b)(5)(i), “Non-self-supporting ladders shall be used at an angle such that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is approximately one-quarter of the working length of the ladder (the distance along the ladder between the foot and the top support).” 74 violations

Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178; 2,294 violations

  • 1910.178(l)(1)(i), “The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this paragraph (l).” 417 violations
  • 1910.178(l)(4)(iii), “An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance shall be conducted at least once every three years.” 263 violations
  • 1910.178(l)(6), “The employer shall certify that each operator has been trained and evaluated as required by this paragraph (l). The certification shall include the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identity of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.” 258 violations
  • 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.” 188 violations
  • 1910.178(l)(1)(ii), “Prior to permitting an employee to operate a powered industrial truck (except for training purposes), the employer shall ensure that each operator has successfully completed the training required by this paragraph (l), except as permitted by paragraph (l)(5).” 172 violations

Fall Protection–Training Requirements, 1926.503; 1,982 violations

  • 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.” 1,283 violations
  • 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 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 actual training.” 368 violations
  • 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.” 114 violations
  • 1926.503(a)(2), “The employer shall assure that each employee has been trained, as necessary, by a competent person qualified in the following areas:” 85 violations
  • 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;” 46 violations

Machine Guarding, 1910.212; 1,972 violations

  • 1910.212(a)(1), “Types of guarding. 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. Examples of guarding methods are-barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices,electronic safety devices, etc.” 1,289 violations
  • 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 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.” 475 violations
  • 1910.212(b), “Anchoring fixed machinery. Machines designed for a fixed location shall be securely anchored to prevent walking or moving.” 76 violations
  • 1910.212(a)(2), “General requirements for machine guards. Guards shall be affixed to the machine where possible and secured elsewhere if for any reason attachment to the machine is not possible. The guard shall be such that it does not offer an accident hazard in itself.” 46 violations
  • 1910.212(a)(3)(iii), “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 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.” 28 violations

Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment-Eye and Face Protection, 1926.102; 1,536 violations

  • 1926.102(a)(1), “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.” 1,474 violations
  • 1926.102(a)(2), “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g. clip-on or slide-on side shields) meeting the pertinent requirements of this section are acceptable.” 48 violations
  • 1926.102(a)(3), “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.” 4 violations
  • 1926.102(b)(1), “Protective eye and face protection devices must comply with any of the following consensus standards:” 2 violations

Top Ten Serious Violations, 2018

OSHA also released its list of the Top Ten “Serious” Violations. According to OSHA, a serious violation is:

“one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.”

Here’s OSHA’s list of the Top Ten Serious Violations:

  1. Fall Protection, 1926.501, 5,899 violations
  2. Scaffolding, 1926.451, 3,059 violations
  3. Hazard Communication, 1910.1200, 2,949 violations
  4. Ladders, 1926.1053, 2,480 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147, 2,384 violations
  6. Respiratory Protection, 1910.134, 2,044 violations
  7. Machine Guarding, 1910.212, 1,710 violations
  8. Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178, 1,548 violations
  9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements, 1,539 violations
  10. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment–Eye and Face Protection, 1926.102, 1,353 violations

Top Ten Willful Violations, 2018

OSHA also released a list of the ten most common “willful” violations in the 2018 list.

According to OSHA, here’s what a willful violation is:

one “committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and requirements.”

Here’s OSHA’s list of the 10 most common willful violations:

  1. Fall Protection, 1926.501, 134 violations
  2. Lockout/Tagout, 1910.147, 30 violations
  3. Grain Handling Facilities, 1910.272, 22 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection, 1910.134, 15 violations
  5. Machine Guarding, 1910.212, 14 violations
  6. Fall Protection–Training Requirements 12 violations
  7. Mechanical Power Transmission Apparatus, 1910.219, 11 violations
  8. Hazard Communication, 1910.212, 10 violations
  9. Permit-Required Confined Spaces, 1910.146, 10 violations (really a tie for #9)

Biggest OSHA Penalties of the Year

OSHA also released a list of the biggest penalties it levied in the year.

  1. $1,837,861
  2. $795,254
  3. $587,564
  4. $514,236
  5. $507,374
  6. $505,929
  7. $454,750
  8. $435,679
  9. $373,911
  10. $370,358

Online Safety Training for OSHA’s Top Ten Citations

To help you avoid some of these same citations, here are some online safety training courses for the standards in OSHA’s 2018 Top Ten Citations list.

1. Fall Protection, 1926.501

Fall Protection Safety Training Suggestion:

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

2. Hazard Communication, 1910.1200

Hazard Communication Training Suggestion

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

3. Scaffolding, 1926.451

Scaffolding Training Suggestions

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

4. Respiratory Protection, 1910.134

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 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 Training Suggestion

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

7. Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178

Powered Industrial Trucks Training Suggestions:

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

8. Fall Protection–Training Requirements

Fall Protection Safety Training Suggestion:

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

9. Machine Guarding, 1910.212

Machine Guarding Training Suggestion:

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


10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment–Eye and Face Protection, 1926.102

Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment Training Suggestions:

We have several e-learning courses related to personal protective equipment (PPE) and lifesaving equipment. Check out the samples below.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Online Training Course:

Hearing Conservation Online Training Course:

Of course we offer safety and health training courses for topics not on OSHA’s Top Ten list as well. Check out our entire library.

Conclusion: OSHA’s List of 10 Most Commonly Cited Violations

Hope you enjoyed this extended look at the OSHA’s Top Ten list for this year. Let us know if you’ve got any questions.

And since you’re here, feel free to download our FREE EFFECTIVE SAFETY TRAINING GUIDE, below.


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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