Fall Protection Tops OSHA’s List of Frequently Cited Standards for 13th Consecutive Year

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a list of its most frequently cited standards, which provides a picture of which rules are most commonly violated in U.S. workplaces. For the 13th fiscal year, “Fall Protection – General Requirements” is the U.S. workplace safety and health agency’s most frequently cited standard. 

OSHA releases the list annually to provide insight into workplace health and safety compliance. The list is often awaited by public health and safety experts as it provides clues about where OSHA will likely focus most of its enforcement directives and activities during the coming year.

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for fiscal year 2023 are:

  • Fall Protection — General Requirements: 7,271 violations
  • Hazard Communication: 3,213 violations
  • Ladders: 2,978 violations
  • Scaffolding: 2,859 violations
  • Powered Industrial Trucks: 2,562 violations
  • Lockout/Tagout: 2,554 violations
  • Respiratory Protection: 2,481 violations
  • Fall Protection — Training Requirements: 2,112 violations
  • Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment—Eye and Face Protection: 2,074 violations
  • Machine Guarding: 1,644 violations

OSHA’s Fall Protection standards consist of several rules and regulations that dictate the position and height of guardrails and safety nets to protect workers at height on structures, as well as the use of personal fall arrest systems and cover for openings and roof windows.  

In 2023, OSHA issued a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) on fall hazards and protection. The NEP rules apply to all workplaces covered by OSHA rules where work is performed at height. All inspections of construction workplaces must be conducted pursuant to the NEP, and the rules apply to rooftop mechanical work/maintenance; utility line work/maintenance; arborist/tree trimming; holiday light installation; road sign maintenance/billboards; power washing buildings; gutter cleaning; chimney cleaning; window cleaning and communication tower work. 

The second most commonly cited rule, Hazard Communications, mandates that all chemicals produced or imported are properly classified. That information about the classified hazards is transmitted to employers and employees. Hazard Communications rules cover developing and maintaining a written hazard communication program for the workplace, including lists of hazardous chemicals present; labeling of containers of chemicals in the workplace, as well as of containers of chemicals being shipped to other workplaces; preparation and distribution of safety data sheets to employees and downstream employers; and development and implementation of employee training programs regarding hazards of chemicals and protective measures.

Workplace compliance is vital for all businesses. Compliance penalties for violations of OSHA’s Fall Protection Standard and its other top-ranked rules have gone up in recent years, as civil penalties are based on the previous year’s inflation rate, which has been high in the U.S. in recent years. 

In California, Unishield Offers Customized Safety Training

Southern California-based Unishield teaches shops, factories, offices, schools, and restaurants how to comply with OSHA regulations. We offer OSHA-compliant personal protective equipment and on-site safety training throughout Greater Los Angeles, San Diego County, Orange County, Ventura County, and San Bernardino County. For more information or to get a quote, call 800-480-5855 or visit our website.


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