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NSC 2013: Fall Protection Retains Top Spot on List of OSHA's Most Frequent Citations

Oct. 1, 2013
Due to the federal-government shutdown, an OSHA official was not on hand at the 2013 National Safety Congress and Expo to delve into the agency's top 10 most frequently cited standards.

The list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards hasn't changed much in recent years. In fact, the top four standards on this year's list are the same ones that made up the top four in fiscal year 2012 – in the same order.

What's different this year is that an OSHA official was not on hand at the 2013 National Safety Congress and Expo for the unveiling of the top 10 list.

"I've had the privilege of hosting this presentation the last five years, and every year we've had an official from OSHA here to talk with you about these top 10 violations and how they relate to workplace hazards and what they mean to workplace safety," Kyle Morrison, senior associate editor for the National Safety Council's Safety and Health magazine, told a large crowd on the expo floor at the McCormick Place in Chicago.

"This year is different. Due to the recent government shutdown, an OSHA official will not be here today."

In a brief presentation, Morrison unveiled the preliminary figures for the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards in fiscal year 2013. They are:

  1. Fall protection (1926.501) – 8,241 violations
  2. Hazard communication (1910.1200) – 6,156
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) – 5,423
  4. Respiratory protection (1910.134) – 3,879
  5. Electrical, wiring methods (1910.305) – 3,452
  6. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178) – 3,340
  7. Ladders (1926.1053) – 3,311
  8. Lockout/tagout (1910.147) – 3,254
  9. Electrical, general requirements (1910.303) – 2,745
  10. Machine guarding (1910.212) – 2,701

Hazcom Standard Climbing the Charts

Although there hasn't been much deviation in the list, Morrison said he expects OSHA's recently revised hazard-communication standard to get a lot of attention in the coming years.

OSHA revised the hazcom standard in March 2012 to align the rule with the United Nations' global chemical-labeling system. By Dec. 1, employers must train their workers on the rule's new labeling elements as well as the new standardized format for safety-data sheets.

Morrison said he wouldn't be surprised if the hazcom standard ascends to the No. 1 position in the next few years.

If there is a prolonged government shutdown, however, OSHA won't have the resources to ensure that employers are complying with the new hazcom standard.

Morrison noted that the shutdown forces OSHA to trim its full-time work force from 2,300 to 236 employees.

In a recent memo, OSHA Administrator David Michaels indicated that the agency would cease most enforcement activities, except for responses to fatalities, catastrophes and complaints regarding life-threatening work conditions.

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