Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2022

There are many reasons why OSHA’s list of top 10 violations is the most awaited list in the industry. One of them is that it can help create training plans for the following year. It can also help safety professionals reevaluate their safety programs and make improvements accordingly. This list could be considered a driver for continuous improvement.

As we prepare for the new year, let’s look at the top 10 OSHA violations for 2022 and how they changed from previous years.

1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,260 violations

Fall protection has been the most cited OSHA standard for over a decade. In 2020, the standard took the lead with 5,424 violations. This number decreased to 5,271 in 2021, and 5,260 today. It is slightly encouraging that the number of violations isn’t showing a significant increase, but there’s no doubt that businesses can do a better job at implementing fall protection in their facility.

Most of the citations are from section 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.”

2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 2,424

HazCom citations showed a significant decrease last year. It dropped from 3,199 violations in 2020 to 1,939 in 2021. This decrease bumped the standard down to the 5th most cited standard of the year. This year, however, without the hustle and bustle of Covid-19, the standard is back at number 2 with 2,424 citations.

One of the most cited sections of the standard is (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.”

3. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,185

Respiratory protection has been fluctuating for the past couple of years, but it’s no surprise that the standard has dropped down to number 3. As we mentioned above, the biggest driver for respiratory protection violations in 2021 was the Covid-19 pandemic. The citations skyrocketed the standard to number 2 with 2,521 violations.

Employers were mostly cited for failing to conduct a medical evaluation when determining an employee’s ability to wear a respirator. With Covid shifting to an endemic and respirator use dropping significantly, the number of citations declined.

4. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,143

The OSHA ladder standard covers everything from ladder design to placement and general use. Due to the widespread use of ladders in industrial settings, it’s no surprise that this standard made the 2022 top 10 OSHA violations list.

5. Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,058

When fall protection is number one on the list, it only makes sense that ladders and scaffolding are also somewhere within that list. Both of these standards are an extension of failing to provide fall protection.

The main driver for ladder citations was not ensuring that side rails must extend at least 3 feet above the landing surface. For scaffolding, it was making sure employees on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level are protected from falling to the lower level.

6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,977

There has been a slight increase in LO/TO citations since 2021. The number went up from 1,698 to 1,977, and the ranking has not changed. Employers were mostly cited for their lack of energy control procedures and failure to train their employees.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,749

Safe operations and PIT training were the sections that received the most citations. The number also went up from last year. Employers must ensure that their workers receive their operator refresher training and safely operate any powered industrial trucks used in their facility.

8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,556

Number 8 is a powerful reminder of the importance of training. It is a justification of number 1, Fall Protection – General Requirements. In 2021, nearly 70% of citations were for section 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.”

9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,401

PPE citations for 2022 are slightly less than in 2021. Employers were mostly cited for not forcing the use of eye and face protection. OSHA investigations also show that workers did not use safety glasses with side protection when working with hazardous materials.

10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,370

Last but not least of OSHA’s top 10 violations in 2022, machine guarding increased in violations from 1,113 in 2021. Workplaces do not have effective machine-guarding programs to keep their employees safe.

Most employers were cited for section 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.”

If you’re an EHS professional, you’re already ahead of the curve by reading this post. Knowing the top 10 OSHA violations in 2022 will help you ensure that your program meets all regulatory requirements before you get a citation.