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OSHA recently released its eagerly awaited annual list of the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for 2023 at this year’s National Safety Council (NSC) Safety Congress & Expo. The OSHA Top 10 List of Most Frequently Cited Standards is so highly anticipated because it provides valuable insights for safety professionals and other health and safety industry stakeholders into OSHA’s enforcement activities during the previous year, trends in workplace health and safety risks, and clues as to where employers should focus their efforts to improve compliance and better protect workers.

OSHA Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for 2023

Below is the full ranked list of OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Violations during FY 2023 ending September 30:  

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

Get an in-depth understanding of all these standards with the updated OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards Blog Series:

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

OSHA Top 10 Citations: Recent Trends & Statistics

The OSHA Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for 2023 closely resembles last year’s list, featuring the same familiar Standard violations that we continue to see on the list year after year. However, there are a couple interesting shifts in the rankings compared to 2022, as well as an overall increase in citations and enforcement activities. Here are a few takeaways:

  • For at least the past decade, Fall Protection continues to hold the #1 spot on OSHA’s Top 10 for 2023.
  • OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom) continues to rank #2 on the list for the second consecutive year (2022-2023), after falling to #4 in 2021.
  • OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard fell to #7 in 2023, after ranking #3 in 2020 and 2022, and #2 in 2021, presumably due to increased Respiratory Protection Standard enforcement emphasis during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Citations for OSHA’s Ladders Standard rose from #4 in 2022 to reach #3 in 2023. That rank as steadily risen in the past six years, from 7th and 8th between 2013 through 2016 to consistently ranking 3rd and 4th since 2021.
  • Overall numbers of inspections and citations continue to return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels and show signs of continued upward trends, perhaps reflecting the increased funding and enforcement efforts at DOL/OSHA under the leadership of the current administration. (See Table 1)

*2023 total inspection data not available

**Citation numbers preliminary as of September 30, 2023

Read an in-depth analysis of each of OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for 2022 in our EHS Blog Series.

Improve Workplace Safety by Leveraging the OSHA Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards List 

With OSHA ramping up inspections and enforcement efforts, and civil penalties increasing consistently every year, it’s important for employers to ensure compliance. The OSHA Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards list is a valuable resource to you prioritize your compliance efforts and ensure your safety programs are addressing the most common and serious workplace hazards.  

If you’re responsible for safety management at your company, here are some ways to take advantage of the OSHA Top 10 List: 

  • Examine your safety program and identify potential hazards covered under OSHA Standards on the list that may be present in your workplace(s). 
  • Evaluate your company’s past and present written safety programs, safety records, and recordkeeping practices and make sure they’re in compliance with OSHA standards. 
  • Engage with your workforce to get insights and ideas into how safety can be improved in these most commonly cited areas of compliance, above and beyond your routine worker safety engagement efforts. 
  • Have a solid training program in place and ensure all employees are up to date on their training, specifically the areas of OSHA Standards compliance listed in the OSHA Top 10. 

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