OSHA’s Top Ten Citations for 2019

OSHA’s Top Ten Citations for 2019

These are OSHA’s top ten most frequently written citations in 2019, with the facts and the explanations surrounding them, as presented in September at the annual National Safety Council Congress.

1. Fall Protection (construction/general requirements)

The interesting part about fall protection is that there are certain height thresholds that, when met, change the safety requirements depending on industry. In construction, it is six feet, unless doing connecting work as a steelworker, which changes the requirement to 25 feet. In general industry it is 4 feet. When the threshold is met it is required for there to be a fall arrest, safety net, or guard rail.

Is fall protection training required?

Construction: Yes

General Industry: Yes


The first and primary goal with HAZCOM compliance is to ensure that every employee is aware of what chemicals and substances they will be working and coming in contact with.

Is HAZCOM training required? Yes, for any employees who have access.

3. Scaffolds

Workers on scaffolds are required to wear fall protection anytime a worker is exposed to a fall of 10 feet or greater. How do you know how high the scaffold is? Generally each frame of Scaffold is roughly 5 feet, so anytime more than one frame is used the height should be checked.

Is scaffold training required?

For construction: Yes

For general industry: No

4. Lockout/Tagout

A very common misconception is that energy sources are only locked out when something is broken. While we do lockout in that circumstance, it should also be done when maintenance is being performed by an employee or when they are working near an energy source that could harm them.

Is lockout/tagout training required?

Construction: Yes

General Industry: Yes

5. Respiratory Protection

With respiratory protection, the first objective should always be to eliminate the need for a respirator at all. This is primarily done by using a proper ventilation system. A common question is how one can know if they or their employees are using a proper respirator? There are many different types of respirators and all employees required to use a respirator—based on hazard exposure—must be fit-tested and that test must be documented.

Is respiratory protection training required?

Construction: Yes

General Industry: Yes

6. Ladders

Ladders are used everyday in both construction and in general industry. When it comes to ladder safety there are essentially two main sets of rules. One applies to extension ladders, the other to fixed ladders. With extension ladders the first focus should be to ensure that the ladder extends three feet beyond the landing.

In the case of fixed ladders the main rule is that there needs to be enough room between the ladder and the object it is fixed to. This ensures there is enough space for the employees foot to use the ladder safely.

Is ladder safety training required?

Construction: Yes

General Industry: No

7. Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts)

Forklifts are commonly used. Propane powered forklifts are a specific issue when it comes to safety. The mounting of a propane tank is of special concern, there is a vent that runs along the length of the tank and if mounted incorrectly the vent would be at the liquid area of the tank not the air space.

Is forklift training required?

Construction: Yes

General Industry: Yes

8. Fall Protection (construction/training requirements)

While failing to adhere to fall protection safety standards was number one on the list, failing to provide fall protection safety training makes the list as well. It is not enough to simply meet the physical safety requirements. It is essential for a safe work environment for the employees to have training in fall protection.

9. Machine Guarding

When it comes to machine guarding safety there are four main hazard areas to look for they are points of operation, in running nip points, rotating parts, and flying chips or sparks.

Is machine guarding safety training required?

Construction: No

General Industry: No

10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment (construction/eye and face)

A great number of workers suffer severe eye damage each year. This violation first made this list in 2018, and has made its way back in 2019. There are a wide number of infractions that bring this into the top ten.

Is personal protective equipment safety training required?

Construction: Yes

General Industry: Yes

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