The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released the list of frequently cited standard violations in the construction industry for 2019. Among the top ten, taking first place again this year is fall protection followed by scaffolds and ladders.

The total number of citations in the construction industry for the year was almost 28,000 with the total cost of penalties reaching more than $89 million. In the residential construction industry, the total citations are approximately 2,000 with a total cost of about $5.5 million.

The penalties here reflect current rather than initial amounts.

The top ten most frequently cited standard violations for construction during the period of October 2018 through September 2019, are as follows:

  1. Duty to have fall protection (1926.501) with 6,411 citations;
  2. Scaffolds (1926.451) with 2,907 citations;
  3. Ladder (1926.1053) with 2,545 citations;
  4. Training requirements for fall protection (1926.503) with 1,912 citations;
  5. Eye and face protection (1926.102) with 1,535 citations;
  6. General safety and health provisions (1926.20) with 938 citations;
  7. Head protection (1926.100) with 898 citations;
  8. Specific excavation requirements (1926.651) with 762 citations;
  9. Ariel lifts (1926.453) with 729 citations; and
  10. (1926.502) with 673 citations.

The rankings and number of citations represent the current rates displayed on OSHA’s website as of December 4.

Since fall protection is the most cited violation of workplace safety, OSHA standards require that fall protection be provided at elevations of six feet for the construction industry and when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

Fall protection consists of the following standards according to OSHA:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and handrails.

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