The Top OSHA Violations of 2012: Are You in Violation?

When you break a rule in sports, you receive a penalty. When you break an OSHA rule, you may be putting employees, clients and others in danger! At the least, you will owe hundreds of dollars in fees.

Thousands of employers failed to follow workplace safety regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and as a result received violations. Here are the top 5 OSHA violations that were cited in 2012.

  1. Fall Protection: 7,250 companies were cited for fall protection violations last year because they failed to cover holes, secure open sides/edges, or take the necessary steps to make roofs safe.
  2. Hazard Communication: 4,696 companies received a hazard communication violation for missing a written program and material safety data sheet or for not properly labeling containers.
  3. Scaffolding: 3,814 companies had problems with the construction of their building’s scaffolding or did not have guardrails or access to scaffolding surfaces resulting in a violation.
  4. Respiratory Protection: 2,371 companies received a respiratory protection violation for not having a written program or proper procedures for fit-tests, respirator selection, and voluntary use.
  5. Ladders: The wrong type of ladder for a job or ladders with damaged side rails resulted in 2,310 ladder violations. Companies also received ladder violations if OSHA found that workers were using the last step of the ladder or using ladders when carrying excessive loads.

Rounding out the top 10 most-cited violations in 2012 were infractions related to machine guarding, powered industrial trucks, electrical/wiring, lockout/tagout (energy control procedures), and general electrical violations.

Some rules may seem overly cautious or the violation fees too expensive, but we can’t put a price on a human life. Since OSHA was established in 1970, workplace fatalities have decreased by 65 percent.

While we would like to assume that the individuals we hire use common sense and put safety first, we can not rely on this assumption alone. Below is just one of the “Cringe-Worthy OSHA Violations” captured in a photo. See more by visiting

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Has your company been in violation before? What have you done since then to ensure your workplace is safe? Share your experience with us in a comment below.


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