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Top OSHA Violations that Cause Injuries

The top-cited Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations create hazards, which frequently lead to worker injuries. OSHA has implemented working condition standards for employers across all industries to reduce the occurrence of occupational injuries and deaths. However, some employers fail to comply with these standards, putting their employees at risk.

Most Cited Workplace Safety Failures

OSHA inspectors check worksites for safety standard compliance, issuing citations for violations. For the fiscal year 2018, the top-cited violations include:

  • Fall protection
  • Hazard communication
  • Scaffolding
  • Respiratory protection
  • Lockout and tagout

Also listed as leading violation citations were ladders, powered industrial trucks, fall protection training, machine guarding, and eye and face protection.

Fall Protection

The top OSHA violation for 2018, falls are one of the leading causes of serious worker injuries. Without the appropriate fall protection, such as guardrails and hole covers, workers may fall from elevated workstations, overhead platforms, or into holes.

Hazard Communication

Failure to comply with OSHA’s hazard communication standard may lead to chemical source illnesses. Acute chemical exposure may cause symptoms such as skin irritation, throat irritation, and dizziness, while chronic exposure may lead to the development of conditions such as asthma and cancer.


People who work on scaffolding are at risk for injury due to getting struck by falling objects, a collapse of the platform, electrocution, and falling. Compliance with the commonly violated OSHA standard, which includes conducting structure inspections and using fall protection, may help avoid scaffolding accidents that cause disabling injuries and death.

Respiratory Protection

Workers who lack appropriate respiratory protection in some industries may face exposure to harmful gases, vapors, dust, and particles, or insufficient oxygen. Consequently, they may develop lung impairments including respiratory disease and cancer or may suffer death.

Lockout and Tagout

Neglecting to employ the appropriate lockout and tagout procedures may expose workers to hazardous energy releases. Such exposure may result in broken bones, cuts, burns, crushing injuries, amputations, or electrocutions.

Workers’ Compensation Claims and OSHA Violations

Employees injured in workplace accidents that occur as a result of unsafe working conditions may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation. Through this state program, injured workers may receive coverage for medical costs and partial wage replacement, among other benefits. Employers in such cases may be subject to fines from OSHA. In some cases, the employer may not have workers’ comp insurance, or may be underinsured and unable to pay for your injuries. In these cases, injured workers may be eligible to receive help from the injured workers’ benefit fund

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