OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Standard Citations in 2023

OSHA’s Top 10 Safety Standard Citations in 2023

February 08, 2024

Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ranks the 10 most frequently cited standards following work site inspections. Workers experience avoidable injuries, illnesses and fatalities associated with the hazards the standards cover.

OSHA publishes its ranking so employers can become aware of repeatedly flagged standards. The aim is to help employers identify and correct hazards before they become a problem. See how your safety programs stand against these citations.

Top 10 OSHA citations

Fall protection maintained its top spot, with twice the number of citations as the runner-up, hazard communication. Respiratory protection fell from fourth to seventh place. Powered industrial trucks rose from seventh to fifth place.

The following are the top 10 OSHA standards cited in the fiscal year 2023, from October 2022 to September 2023:

RankSafety and health topicOSHA standardWhat it covers
1Fall protection1926.501Fall protection. Requires employers to provide fall protection systems to employees working at heights.
2Hazard communication1910.1200Hazard communication. Requires employers to disclose and classify hazards of all chemicals produced or imported. Also requires employers to communicate information about the classified hazards to employees, and maintain a written hazard communication program and chemical inventory.
3Ladders1926.1053Ladders. Regulates the types of ladders employers must provide to employees for the jobs they’re doing.
4Scaffolds1926.451General requirements. Regulates the types, materials, construction and uses of scaffolds, as well as fall protection and guards employers must provide for employees working on or around scaffolds.
5Powered industrial trucks1910.178Powered industrial trucks. Requires safety measures relating to the design, maintenance and use of fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines.
6Lockout/Tagout1910.147The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout). Sets minimum requirements for controlling hazardous energy when machines and equipment are being serviced or maintained. The lockout/tagout process prevents unexpected startups and releases of stored energy that could injure employees.
7Respiratory protection1910.134Respiratory protection. Requires employers to control employees’ exposure to air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays or vapors.
8Fall protection1926.503Training requirements. Requires employers to provide fall protection training to employees exposed to fall hazards. Minimally, employees should be able to recognize fall hazards in the workplace and follow procedures for minimizing those hazards.
9Personal protective equipment1926.102Eye and face protection. Requires employers to provide affected employees with proper eye and face protection. Personal protective equipment must protect against hazards like flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, and light radiation.
10Machine guarding1910.212General requirements for all machines. Requires employers to protect machine operators and other employees nearby from rotating parts, flying chips, sparks and other machine-related hazards.

Free on-site safety consultation

If you’re a smaller business looking for feedback about your safety programs, try OSHA’s free safety consultation program. It’s open to small businesses with 250 or fewer employees at a single location and fewer than 500 employees in the entire company. 

An on-site consultation can help you identify and address hazards and establish or improve your safety and health programs. Consultants from state agencies or universities provide the services. The consultations are confidential and separate from OSHA enforcement.

Keeping up with OSHA standards can help you maintain a safe workplace and avoid regulatory mishaps. Employees are counting on you to help them make it through the workday safely!