How did workplace safety fare during the pandemic? OSHA’s Top 10 violations for 2020

by Brianna Crandall — April 5, 2021 — According to a National Safety Council press release, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced its preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for fiscal year 2020. In an exclusive webinar with Safety+Health magazine on Feb. 26, Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the preliminary data, and Kevin Druley, Safety+Health associate editor, moderated the session.

Although multiple standards swapped positions, the Top 10 violations from FY 2019 to FY 2020 did not change. Ladders (1926.1053) climbed to a top-five spot, and Respiratory Protection (1910.134) rose to the third rank from fifth. Additionally, the data shows that Fall Protection — General Requirements (1926.501) is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard for the 10th successive fiscal year.

Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO, remarked:

In a year that was defined by the ongoing pandemic, workplace safety became more important than ever. The OSHA Top 10 list reminds us why we must continue to focus on persistent safety risks as we navigate new challenges. These data help us pinpoint areas where we can improve so we can better prioritize workplace safety in the future world of work.

The Top 10 for FY 2020 are:

  • Fall Protection — General Requirements (1926.501): 5,424 violations
  • Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 3,199
  • Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,649
  • Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,538
  • Ladders (1926.1053): 2,129
  • Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,065
  • Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,932
  • Fall Protection — Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,621
  • Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment — Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,369
  • Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,313

For more information about OSHA regulations, the group’s recent strong guidance on limiting the spread of Covid-19 at work, or additional coronavirus guidance, visit the OSHA website.