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10 Most-Cited Safety Violations and 5 Ways to Avoid Them

A shock, a fall, a burn; these represent a small number of the injuries possible in day-to-day life. Without proper precautions, these injuries and more can happen to employees in the workplace. When these accidents happen, employees suffer work-related injuries, and your company faces the risk of medical bills and lawsuits. Things do happen, but these situations are almost always preventable.

Common OSHA Violations

Employee injury can happen in dozens of ways, but it only takes a few small measures and a little bit of training to minimize employee injury and maximize efficiency. Today’s contribution to Safety Week is an examination of safety violations. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, has released 2021’s most cited safety standards:

  1. Fall protection

  2. Respiratory protection

  3. Ladders

  4. Hazard Communication

  5. Scaffolding

  6. Fall Protection Training

  7. Lockout/Tagout

  8. Eye and Face Protection

  9. Powered industrial trucks

  10. Machinery and Machine Guarding

According to OSHA, fall protection has continuously been the most cited standard for nearly a decade. Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls.


The good news is these injuries are easy to avoid using a few simple steps. We can follow the top ten most cited safety violations with the top five most effective ways to avoid them.

  1. Schedule regular training

  2. Put formal safety policies and procedures in place

  3. Communicate expectations to employees

  4. Perform regular inspections

  5. Provide the necessary tools to problem solve

If you’ve ever sat through a day of training, you know that it can be near-impossible to remember everything you learned. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with new information and forget something important.

To prevent employees from suffering the “in one ear, out the other” phenomena, your company should provide regular reminders of safety regulations and expectations, as well as administer periodic training over a longer period of time. In fact, it has been psychologically proven information taught in a shorter period of time (say a 30-minute training video instead of a two-hour training session), then revisited at increments in the future, is more likely to be remembered.

You will hear different secrets to safety, ranging from awareness to discipline to monitoring, but the true secret to successful work safety is to train, train, train your employees. A well-trained employee will save you many headaches in the future, and a safe work environment can optimize employee efficiency and save your company from unnecessary bills, courts, and hiring.

If you work in construction, be sure to take the Fall Injury Reduction course; for all other safety topics check out our extensive OSHA library.