Weekly Safety Topic – OSHA’s Top 10 Violations for FY 2021

Every October, the U.S. Department of Labor releases a list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards from the past fiscal year (October to September).  The sad fact is that the list doesn’t change much from year to year.  At a minimum, we should use the list to identify the most commonly cited hazards and work to control them.

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The Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for FY 2021 were:

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
  2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527
  3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026
  4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948
  5. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698
  7. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,666
  8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,452
  9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113

Take a look at the top 10.  How are people ignoring eye protection, ladders, and fall protection standards?  Did anyone come here today to lose an eye or fall, break their leg, or hurt themselves?  Probably not.  I know that folks understand it hurts when you get something in your eye, most of us have a shared experience there.  Why accept the risk of not wearing a pair of safety glasses when the consequences are so high.

Let’s be realistic:  safety rules don’t keep you safe.  You keep you safe!  The government and whoever you work for cannot regulate you into not getting hurt.  OSHA can give you guidelines to follow and fine companies for not following regulations, but only you can choose to do the job safely.  When you arrive to work, you should take time to identify any hazards.  Only you can choose whether or not you will do this and whether you will accept risk or control it.  

Talk to your supervisor or the company’s safety manager if you have any concerns about working conditions.  If you don’t understand how to perform a task safely, ask someone.  There are no dumb questions when it comes to your safety and health.   If you see something unsafe, “Don’t Look the Other Way!” let someone know so it can get fixed.   And remember, you are the person most responsible for your safety!