Safety Standards

Fall protection remains biggest workplace hazard

OSHA's most-cited workplace safety standards finds fall protection in the top spot for the 11th straight year with respiratory protection a distant second.

By National Safety Council (NSC) October 13, 2021
Courtesy: Cincinnati Incorporated/Steve Rourke, CFE Media and Technology

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its preliminary top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for 2021. NSC Safety+Health Associate Editor Kevin Druley introduced Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, who presented the list virtually during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo, the world’s largest annual gathering of safety professionals.

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 number two, 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 in a press release. “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): 5,295 violations
  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 (LOTO) (1910.147): 1,698
  7. Fall protection – training requirements (1926.503): 1,666
  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

– Edited from a National Safety Council press release by CFE Media and Technology.


National Safety Council (NSC)