OSHA’s Top 5 Most Cited General Industry Standards for FY 2021

Every year, OSHA releases its list of the top 10 most cited workplace safety standards for the year. During the FY 2021, the top 10 cited standards were:

  1. Fall Protection
  2. Respiratory Protection
  3. Ladders
  4. Scaffolding
  5. Hazard Communication
  6. Lockout/Tagout
  7. Fall Protection
  8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment
  9. Powered Industrial Trucks
  10. Machine Guarding

Out of this list, 5 of these standards pertain to the construction industry and 5 are general industry standards. We will take a look at the top 5 most cited OSHA General Industry standards to learn how to prevent citations.

1. Respiratory Protection

The OSHA General Industry standard 1910.134 was cited 2,527 times in FY 2021. This OSHA standard applies to workplaces where employees are required to wear respirators. The main reasons for citations were due to:

  • Medical evaluations for employees
  • Fit testing for employees wearing tight-fitting facepiece respirators
  • Written respiratory protection programs
  • Training employees

If you want to avoid violating OSHA’s respirator standards you need to have employees get fit tested, have a medical evaluation performed to ensure that they are physically capable of using a respirator, and provide proper training on how to use respirators.

2. Hazard Communication

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard 1910.1200 had 1,939 citations in FY 2021. This standard details the requirements for chemical hazards and the need to communicate to employees about the hazards associated with chemicals in their workplace. The main reason for violations of this standard include:

  • Written programs
  • Employee training
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Container labels

To avoid citations, employers must maintain a SDS for every chemical that employees may come in contact with at your workplace, make sure SDS’s are readily available to employees, ensure every chemical container is labeled in accordance with OSHA requirements, train employees on chemical hazards in their workplace, and have a written program in place. 

3. Lockout/Tagout

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO), OSHA Standard 1910.147, was cited 1,670 times in the 2021 fiscal year. This standard outlines the requirements surrounding the safe shutdown and start-up of machinery that requires more than one type of energy to operate and needs regular maintenance. The main reasons for violations included:

  • LOTO procedures
  • Employee training
  • Inspections of LOTO procedures
  • Written programs

In order to be compliant with this OSHA standard, you will need a written procedure for lockout and/or tagout for each piece of equipment in your workplace. These procedures are specific to each piece of equipment and need to be very detailed. LOTO procedures must include where power sources are, how they are individually isolated, how to verify isolation, and how to bring the equipment online and back to operation. All employees working with and around the equipment must be trained in LOTO procedures. In addition, LOTO procedures must be reviewed annually to ensure that the steps are still applicable, are being followed, and that no changes are needed.

4. Powered Industrial Trucks

1,404 violations of OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks, 1910.178, were issued in FY 2021. If you have any type of powered industrial truck in your workplace, this standard applies to you. The most common violations included:

  • Safe use/operation and training
  • Maintenance

The most important way to comply with this OSHA standard is through the proper training on the safe operation of PITs. Training includes three separate parts:

  • Formal classroom or computer-based training with a knowledge assessment
  • Hands-on training
  • Evaluation of the employee operating the PIT in their typical work environment

Each employee needs training for each specific PIT they will be operating. Employees also need to know how to inspect the PIT before each use and how to document the inspection.

5. Machine Guarding

OSHA 1910.212 pertains to Machine Guarding and was cited 1,105 times in the 2021 fiscal year. This standard includes the requirements for guards that protect employees from hazards caused by machines. The main reasons for citations included:

  • Types of guards used
  • Placement of guards
  • Guarding of fan blades
  • Securing machinery used in a fixed location

You can avoid violating this standard in your workplace by making sure every machine has the correct guards. When you get a new piece of equipment, make sure it is thoroughly inspected for any point that could cause injury and that each hazard point has a guard in place.

TSCSE Can Help Prevent OSHA Violations

At TSC Southeast, it is our goal to help you create a safe working environment for your employees. Our team of experts knows the ins and outs of OSHA regulations and can help ensure that your workplace is OHSA compliant. Our safety consulting services include safety training, safety audits, creating written safety programs, ensuring you have the proper PPE and making sure that you have the correct procedures in place to avoid citations. To learn more about the services we can provide, contact us today!  

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