Top 10 OSHA



At the 2019 National Safety Council Congress & Expo in San Diego, California, Patrick Kapust, Deputy Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the agency’s top 10 violations for the fiscal year of 2019. The order may have changed slightly, but the list remains the same as last year.

And though much discussion and education has taken place over the last decade regarding forklifts and safety training, they still remain on the list of the top cited offenses.

The Top 10 Violations of Fiscal Year 2019

Fall Protection (Construction)

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1926.501): 6,010 Violations

The duty to provide fall protection has been OSHA’s top citation for several years. According to Kapust, common violations under this standard included failure to provide fall protection near unprotected sides or edges and on both low-slope and steep roofs. Many of the citations were issued to roofing contractors, framing contractors, masonry contractor, and new single-family housing constructions contractors.

Hazard Communication

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1910.1200): 3,671 Violations

Hazard communication has been in the number-two spot for several years. Common deficiencies include lack of a written program, inadequate training, and failing to properly develop or maintain safety data sheets (SDSs). Auto repair facilities and painting contractors were among the industries that received many hazard communication citations.

Scaffolds (construction)

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1926.451): 2,813 Violations

Common violations included improper decking, failing to provide guardrails where required, and failure to ensure that supported scaffolds are adequately supported on a solid foundation. Masonry, siding, roofing, and framing contractors were particularly prone to scaffolding violations.


General Requirements of (29 CFR 1910.147): 2,606 Violations

Many employers cited under this standard failed to establish an energy control procedure altogether, while others cited for failing to provide adequate employee training, failing to conduct periodic evaluations of procedures, and failing to use Lockout/Tagout devices for equipment. Violations were common among plastics manufacturers, machine shops, and sawmills.

Respiratory Protection

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1910.134): 2,450 Violations

Failing to establish a program, failing to perform required fit testing, and failing to provide medical evaluations were among the most frequently cited issues. Auto body refinishing, masonry contractors, painting contractors, and wall covering contractors received many citations under this standard.

Ladders (Construction)

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1926.1053): 2,345 Violations

Common deficiencies included failure to have siderails extend 3′ (feet) beyond a landing surface, using ladders for unintended purposes, using the top step of a stepladder, and ladders with structural defects. These violations were common among roofing, framing, siding, and painting contractors.

Powered Industrial Trucks

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1910.178): 2,093 Violations

Violations commonly addressed deficient or damaged forklifts that were not removed from service, failing to safely operate a forklift, failing to refrain certification of training, and failing to evaluate forklift drivers every 3 years as required. Forklift violations were widespread across a number of industries, but were particularly prevalent in warehousing and storage facilities. Fabricated and structural metal manufacturing and among farming contractors.

Fall Protection Training (Construction)

Training Requirements of (29 CFR 1926.503): 1,773 Violations

Commonly cited issues include failing to provide training to each person required to receive it, failing to certify training in writing, inadequacies in training leading to the failure of retention by the trainee, and failing to retrain in instances where the trainee failed to retail the training content.

Machine Guarding

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1910.212): 1,743 Violations

Violations included failing to guard points of operation, failing to ensure that guards are securely attached to machinery, improper guarding of fan blades, and failing to properly anchors fixed machinery, machine guarding violations occur in many industries. But common targets include machine shops and fabricated metal manufacturing.

Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment (Construction) - Eye and Face Protection

General Requirements of (29 CFR 1926.102): 1,411 Violations

A newcomer to OSHA’s Top 10 List in 2018, eye and face protection made the list again in Fiscal Year 2019. Commonly cited issues included failing to provide eye and face protection where employees are exposed to hazards from flying objects; failing to provide eye protection with side protection, and failing to provide protection from caustic hazards, gases, and vapors.

Our Reponsibility

We talk a lot about OSHA Compliance and Enforcement. There’s nothing more important than making sure all of your employees go home safe every day. If you’re not sure about the status of your forklift operator’s training, contact us. You can count on our team of professionals to ensure your forklift operators are practicing safe forklift operation.

Got Questions?

If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.