OSHA Resources

OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations 2023

For the 13th consecutive year, general requirements for fall protection topped the list of the most-cited violations recorded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Region 6 Administrator Eric Harbin presented OSHA’s annual top 10 list at the recent National Safety Council (NSC) Safety Congress & Expo in New Orleans. The numbers covered the 2023 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023).

Fall Protection-General Requirements featured a total of 7,271 violations, more than double that of the second-highest cited item, Hazard Communication (3,213). Ladders (2,978) and Scaffolding (2,859) came in third and fourth on the list, further highlighting the need for proper precautions when working at heights.

The order of the top 10 violations remained largely the same as in 2022, with only two items moving more than one spot in either direction. Respiratory Protection fell from fourth to seventh on the list, while Powered Industrial Trucks climbed from seventh to fifth.

Each of the standards above saw a significant increase in their total numbers cited and each of them appeared on last year’s last list although the order shifted somewhat as is common from year to year. For the 13th consecutive year, fall protection (general requirements) was the most frequently cited violation.

As employers consider reviewing and strengthening their safety and health practices for 2024, the Top 10 list is always a good place to start such efforts.

OSHA’s Top 10 Most-Cited Safety Violations of 2023
Standard (Standard Number) – Violations

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) – 7,271
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 3,213
  3. Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,978
  4. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 2,859
  5. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,561
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,554
  7. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 2,481
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) – 2,112
  9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) – 2,074
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 1,644

Razer Safety can assist employers with OSHA Medical Questionnaires, provide training, and do fit testing for employees who wear respirators.

The Bottom 5

Just as the top 5 OSHA standards have remained the same but shifted positions, so have the bottom five standards on the OSHA's Top 10 list.

The Powered Industrial Trucks standard has moved up two spots on the list and deals with the operation design, maintenance, and training of mobile equipment like forklifts. Perhaps this increase reflects the labor crunch many companies, especially those in logistics and warehousing, have felt over the past year as they try to fulfill the demand for goods while short-staffed.

These shortages may push some to cut corners regarding proper employee training, inspections, and maintenance while hiring less skilled workers to operate the equipment. As a result, OSHA inspectors may find more violations than they would otherwise.

Impact on Workers, Business and Profit

Employers that want to reduce injury in accident rates and avoid potentially costly regulatory fines must take this list seriously and see if it illuminates any of their safety and health programs' shortcomings.

If an OSHA inspector shows up for a surprise inspection, these top 10 standards will likely be at the top of their mind and something they will look for at your facility. Reading and reviewing these top 10 standards for comprehension and how they might apply to your workplace is a perfect place to start to ensure your organization isn't caught off guard.

The Need for Training and Prevention

What are some of the most important things your company needs to focus on to ensure you don't get hit with one of these most cited regulations?
Safety audits are one of the essential safety and health program tools. Audits help you identify hazards in your workplace so that you can proactively manage and eliminate them before they can turn into workplace injuries or accidents.

Different people see different hazards, and something you might miss may be evident to another person with different experiences. That's why it is helpful to have Razer Safety and Health perform periodic workplace audits and mentor your team members on identifying hazards.

OSHA requires that companies create written safety programs and periodically update and review them. Razer Safety and Health can audit your organization's current safety and health plans and procedures to ensure they include the requirements established by the top 10 standards.

Finally, an essential component of workplace safety and compliance is training employees to recognize and mitigate the hazards they are likely to encounter. Therefore, audit your current training to identify gaps related to the OSHA's top 10 list and create a plan to fill those gaps.

Make sure that you are proactive when it comes to training and staying on top of it. The longer you wait to conduct training, the more likely your workers are to be involved in an accident, and OSHA is to show up on-site and realize that you have not been conducting the mandatory training.

When should I report accidents to OSHA?

You should report accidents to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if they meet the criteria for a "serious injury." Under OSHA regulations, a serious injury is defined as one that results in:

After a workplace accident what questions should I ask?

If you're involved in a workplace accident, it's important to take the following steps to ensure that you get the help you need and that the incident is properly documented:

By asking these questions, you can help ensure that the root cause of the accident is identified and addressed. That measures are taken to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future and have information available when OHSA makes follow up inspection after accident report.

If I am an employer what questions should I ask after accident?

As an employer, it's important to take a thorough and comprehensive approach to investigating workplace accidents to ensure that the root cause is identified and addressed. When investigating, it's important to ask the following questions.

By asking these questions and gathering as much information as possible about the accident, you can help ensure that you have a complete and accurate understanding of what happened and what can be done to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future. As employer you will be prepared for OSHA Visit following the report of an accident.

OSHA General Duty Clause

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) General Duty Clause is a provision in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that requires employers to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. Specifically, the General Duty Clause states that employers must furnish "a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."

The General Duty Clause is often used by OSHA to cite employers for violations of safety and health standards that do not have a specific OSHA regulation. For example, if there is a hazard in the workplace that is not addressed by an OSHA standard, OSHA can use the General Duty Clause to cite the employer for failing to provide a safe workplace.

To use the General Duty Clause, OSHA must establish that the employer:

Employers can prevent violations of the General Duty Clause by identifying and addressing potential hazards in the workplace, providing adequate training to employees, and maintaining a culture of safety.

By using Razer Safety and Health, LLC to provide safety audits or “mock” OSHA Inspection employers can identify and avoid potential hazards that may result in a citation, violation, and penalties.


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