Q & A: OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards

Q & A: OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards

Question: “Does OSHA have a "high-risk" hazard list, like combustible dust, or lack of FR clothing in facilities with Flash Fire risks?”

Answer: See OSHA’s Top 10 Citations of 2016.

Annually, OSHA releases its Top 10 list upon review of citations issued to employers across the nation, amassed from over 30,000 inspections.

A mix of general industry & construction standards—from Fall Protection to Electrical Wiring— commonly resulting in serious injury, fatality, or illness; over 5,000 occupational fatalities were recorded in 2016.

OSHA’s Top 10:

Hazards are also prioritized by nature of the hazard; since all hazards are hazardous on some level, the presence of “imminent danger” becomes the determining factor.

Another way to look at it: what’s most likely to cause serious harm now, if left as is?

For general inspections, OSHA has a set of inspection priorities and they are as follows:

OSHA cannot inspect all 7 million workplaces it covers each year.

The agency seeks to focus its inspection resources on the most hazardous workplaces in the following order of priority:

  1. Imminent danger situations—hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm receive top priority. Compliance officers will ask employers to correct these hazards immediately or remove endangered employees.
  2. Severe injuries and illnesses—employers must report: All work-related fatalities within 8 hours. All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours.
  3. Worker Complaints—allegations of hazards or violations also receive a high priority. Employees may request anonymity when they file complaints.
  4. Referrals of hazards from other federal, state or local agencies, individuals, organizations or the media receive consideration for inspection.
  5. Targeted inspections—inspections aimed at specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces that have experienced high rates of injuries and illnesses also receive priority.
  6. Follow-up inspections—checks for abatement of violations cited during previous inspections are also conducted by the agency in certain circumstances.

However, depending on the type of inspection OSHA may be looking for specific hazards as part of an emphasis program.

To learn more about those scenarios and OSHA’s enforcement scheme, check out: 161 Reasons for an OSHA Inspection and OSHA training.

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