How to Avoid The Most Common OSHA Citations of 2019


What happens when you violate OSHA standards?

Anything from minor injuries to serious harm can result from ignoring safety policies. And whether or not anyone gets hurt, if you’re caught violating OSHA standards, it’s going to cost you a lot of money.

OSHA issues different types of citations, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Fines and penalties vary based on the violation type.

Types of OSHA Violations

Other Than Serious Violation

A violation that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

  • Possibly penalty of up to $12,934

Serious Violation

A violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

  • Mandatory penalty of up to $12,934

Willful Violation

A violation that the employer knowingly commits or commits with plain indifference to the law. The employer either knows that what he or she is doing constitutes a violation, or is aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to eliminate it.

  • Possible penalties of up to $129,336
  • Minimum penalty of $9,239 for each violation
  • If an employer is convicted of a willful violation of a standard that has resulted in the death of an employee, the offense is punishable by a court-imposed fine or by imprisonment for up to six months, or both. A fine of up to $250,000 for an individual, or $500,000 for a corporation, may be imposed for a criminal conviction.

Repeat Violation

A violation of any standard, regulation, rule, or order where, upon re-inspection, a substantially similar violation exists.

  • Fine of up to $129,336 for each such violation

Failure to Abate Prior Violation

When an employer receives a violation citation, the citation includes a date by which the employer must remedy the situation. If it is not fixed by then...

  • Penalty of up to $12,934 for each day the violation continues beyond the prescribed abatement date

De Minimis Violation

A technical violation of OSHA rules that have no direct impact on health or safety. It is the least serious class of violation, and OSHA inspectors do not levy fines or issue citations for these violations.

Most Common OSHA Citations

So where do employers most often fail OSHA standards—and how can you prevent those mistakes in your workplace?

At the end of each year, OSHA shares what standards were violated the most. Let’s take a look:

2019’s Top 10 OSHA Citations

Fall Protection - General Requirements: Standard 1926.501

Total violations = 7,014

Hazard Communication (HAZCOM): Standard 1910.1200

Total violations = 4,170

Scaffolding: Standard 1926.451

Total violations = 3,228

Lockout/Tagout: Standard 1910.147

Total violations = 2,975

Respiratory Protection: Standard 1910.134

Total violations = 2,826

Ladder Safety: Standard 1926.1053

Total violations = 2,766

Forklift (Powered Industrial Trucks): Standard 1910.178

Total violations = 2,347

Fall Protection - Training Requirements: Standard 1926.503

Total violations = 2,059

Machine Guarding: Standard 1910.212

Total violations = 1,987

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Standard 1926.102

Total violations = 1,630

The good news? Many of these mistakes can be prevented with simple safety training.

Workplace Safety Training

Arm your workers with the knowledge of OSHA safety standards and empower them to help keep your workplace safe and citation free!

All of 2019’s most common citations are topics covered in the eLearning Brothers Workplace Safety off-the-shelf courseware.

We've even shared some sneak peeks of some of these exact topics on the blog already, like lockout/tagout, machine guards, respiratory protection, and ppe.

Our comprehensive courses help you meet OSHA training requirements and prevent costly citations and dangerous injuries.

Even better, these mobile-friendly microlearning courses are easy to access on-the-go. Your workers can access them on a job site, at home, or in the office.

Take the first step in preventing costly injuries to your workers. Schedule a demo of our safety training today.

Schedule a Demo