Sharp decrease in OSHA workplace violations

Annual report finds fall protection citations drop 14% from 2016

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, CFE Media. October 17, 2017

The annual OSHA Top 10 workplace safety violations list is notable in 2017 not for the order of violations, but for the sharp decrease in the number of reported safety violations.

Announced Sept. 26 at the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo in Indianapolis, the OSHA Top 10 list saw no change among the top five violations. Fall protection remains the most often cited safety violation, but there was a 14% decrease in violations from 2016 (6,929) to 2017 (6,072). The announcements were made by Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs.

There were similar drops for the other Top 5 violations:

  • Hazard Communication: down 35.9% from 5,677 in 2016 to 4,176 in 2017
  • Scaffolding: down 18.8% from 3,906 in 2016 to 3,288 in 2017
  • Respiratory Protection: down 15.7% from 3,585 in 2016 to 3,097 in 2017
  • Lockout/Tagout: down 18.7% from 3,414 in 2016 to 2,877 in 2017

The next five violations were ladders, powered industrial trucks, machine guarding, fall protection-training methods, and electrical-wiring methods. All categories showed similar drops from 2016, and all categories were also down significantly from 2015. The only exception was fall protection-training methods, which did not make the top 10 list in either 2015 or 2016.

The chart shows the breakdown for the last three years in OSHA violations and the OSHA standard cited. The number in parenthesis shows the place in that year, if different from 2017.

Bob Vavra is the content manager for Plant Engineering at CFE Media.