A Look Back at OSHA’s 2016 Top 10 Safety Violations

Despite the emphasis companies place on workplace safety and regulation compliance, it is no surprise that workplace accidents still occur. Such accidents highlight the various safety standards being violated, and draw attention to the risks of workers on the job.

In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases its annual top 10 safety violations as a way to draw attention to the violations that occur most frequently, and how to help companies better prevent injuries and fatalities.


Here’s a look at OSHA’s Top 10 for 2016:

  1. Fall protection – 6,906*: Proper scaffolding, harnesses, helmets and other protection are required for working at height. Workers need to be notified of the risks of working at height, as well as the protection gear that is necessary in order to stay safe on the job. Fall protection is also one of the easiest violations to spot, which helped it land the #1 spot on OSHA’s Top 10 for the sixth year in a row.
  2. Hazard communication – 5,665*: This violation addresses the use of signs and labels when dealing with hazardous chemicals produced in-house or imported into the workplace. Businesses must comply with the standard through a written record, which includes creating a chemical inventory.
  3. Scaffolding – 3,900*: Scaffolding can prevent injury and even death of falling from a high distance. The use of scaffolding is imperative in construction work, where working at height occurs regularly.
  4. Respiratory protection – 3,573*: OSHA requires companies to have a written program to show how they take in precaution air quality or breathing hazards.
  5. Lockout/Tagout – 3,406*: This regulation refers to minimum requirements for companies to take regarding the control of hazardous, unexpected energy release when operating machinery and equipment.
  6. Powered industrial trucks – 2,855*: Industrial trucks are used in countless industries – but dangers of operating need to be outlined and addressed to workers before operation, regardless of the industry.
  7. Ladders – 2,625*: Ladders are an essential tool at any construction site, but pose serious dangers. OSHA not only prohibits the conditions in which a ladder is used, but also prohibits alternative usage of ladders, such as a walking platform.
  8. Machine guarding – 2,448*: This regulation refers to any general requirements for operating all machinery.
  9. Electrical (wiring methods) – 1,937*: This violation addresses potential dangers of electric shock, arc flash, fires, and explosions.
  10. Electrical (general requirements) – 1,704*: OSHA requires all electrical equipment to be installed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions, in order to ensure safe practices.

Each of these are preventable hazards that, when left unchecked, can result in catastrophic accidents. In some cases, the solution is to double down on efforts and understanding of regulations. In others, it’s an issue of avoiding negligence and assuring safety as the No. 1 priority.

Easy ways to prevent workplace safety violations

A solution to decreasing the number of violations per year? Proper signage that communicates potential dangers and risks that employees may face in the workplace. According to J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., in 2016, OSHA’S top 10 violations list were comprised of roughly 30,000 violations totaling approximately $65,000,000 in fines. At National Marker, our mission is to provide identification signs, tags, labels, and more to help keep employees safe. Not only could a simple sign save a life, but it can also save your company thousands!

Remember – signs are cheaper than fines!

*Preliminary figures as of Oct. 11, 2016 from Tom Musick at Safety+Health Magazine


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