SAFETY SOLUTIONS: OSHA Annouces 2021 Top 10 Frequently Cited Standards
Recently the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) announced its preliminary
top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety
standards for fiscal year 2021. While several standards
have swapped positions, the 2021 list did not see any new
entries. It also marks the eleventh successive fiscal year
that Fall Protection has topped the list.
Preliminary numbers were announced earlier this year,
but the finalized list with official numbers was delayed.
The delay was ultimately due to the COVID-19 pandemic
slowing down the agency’s process – a struggle familiar
to most business owners operating in the past year.
Fall Protection (1926.501) remains at the top of the list
for the 11th year in a row, followed by Respiratory Protection
(1910.134) and Ladders (1926.1053). Hazard Communication,
which spent the last several years at No. 2,
moved to the fifth spot on this year’s list.
“Throughout the pandemic workplace safety has become
more important than ever,” said Lorraine Martin,
NSC president and CEO. “Although incredible advancements
are made in safety each year, the OSHA Top 10 list
reminds us that we must continue to pinpoint areas
where we can improve so we can better prioritize workplace
safety in the future world of work.”
The Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety
standards for FY 2021 are:
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501):
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 – Training Requirements (1926.503):
8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye
and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,452
9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420
10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113
Even though these numbers seem low, let’s not forget
that the OSHA and State OSHA agencies are usually
small in nature and do not have a large staff of compliance
officers staffing these offices. Because theOSHA has
authority to inspect more than six million workplaces,
with approximately 900 compliance officers, OSHA has
established a system of inspection priorities that are designed
to ensure that maximum feasible protection is
provided, and the worst situations are inspected first.
Top priority in OSHA's system for conducting inspections
is responding to reports of imminent danger situations.
Second priority is given to investigation of fatalities
and catastrophes and all employers are required to notify
OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a
work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an
eye. A fatality must be reported within 8 hours. An inpatient
hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss must be
reported within 24 hours. Third priority is given to employee
complaints of alleged violation of standards or of
unsafe or unhealthful working conditions.
Next in priority are programmed, or planned, inspections
aimed at specific high-hazard industries or occupations.
Industries are selected for inspection on the basis
of factors such as the death, injury and illness incidence
rate, and employee exposure to toxic substances. Special
emphasis may be local or national in scope, depending on
the distribution of the workplaces involved. States with
OSHA approved occupational safety and health programs
may use somewhat different systems to identify highhazard
industries for inspection within their states.
In addition to the initial inspection, OSHA's compliance
officers must also conduct follow-up and monitoring inspections
to ensure that hazards are being corrected and
employees are being protected. Therefore, as you can see,
OSHA's priority system for conducting inspections is designed
to distribute available OSHA resources as effectively
as possible to protect the working men and women
of this country.
With my forty-seven years as a Certified Safety, Health &
Environmental Expert, do you think if I came into your facility
that I would find you were probably out of compliance
with safety, health or environmental laws and regulations?
My guess is yes. Take a look at the Podojil & Associates’ website
at www.podojilconsulting.com and see who my long list
of clients are; many of whom I am still helping today.
I have been writing for Plastic Distributor & Fabricator
Magazine since December 1999. I have recently turned 75
and as I look back over the many years, I hope many of
my “Safety Solutions” have helped make your workplace
safer. As always if you have questions or if we can be of
any help, my staff and I are ready to assist.
For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.