By James L. CurtisAdam R. YoungPatrick D. JoyceDaniel R. Birnbaum, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: The National Safety Council (NSC) released an update to its annual list of OSHA’s top-ten cited standards. The list provides a starting point for employers to review their own safety programs on an annual basis. 

Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented OSHA’s preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for fiscal year 2021. The list was presented virtually during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo, and summarized in NSC’s Safety+Health magazine.

According to OSHA and NSC, Fall Protection in construction (1926.501) remains at the top of the list for the 11th year in a row.  Likely due to COVID-19 concerns, Respiratory Protection (1910.134) moved up several spots to the second most commonly cited standard, followed by Ladders (1926.1053). Hazard Communication, which spent the last several years at No. 2, moved to the fifth spot on this year’s list.

Drumroll please…OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for FY 2021 are:

  1. Fall Protection in Construction (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 in General Industry (1926.503): 1,666
  8. Personal Protective Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,452
  9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113

As 2021 comes to a close, employers should take this opportunity to conduct an annual review of their safety and health programs, with an eye toward addressing OSHA’s top-ten most-cited violations. Though not on the list, OSHA has telegraphed that COVID-19 inspections following the newly-announced National Emphasis Program will be a priority in 2022. OSHA will conduct even more inspections if OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard survives its legal challenges.

For more information on vaccines or any related topic, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) or the Workplace Counseling & Solutions Teams.