OSHA's Top 10 Violations of 2021

Oct. 27, 2021
Fall protection and forklift safety remain some of the biggest problem areas in workplaces.

You might think that after more than a decade, companies and their workers alike would've started taking falls from height a lot more seriously. And yet, for 11 straight years now, the most frequently cited violation of OSHA standards is fall protection. Despite all of the protocols, procedures and equipment in place to protect workers from falls, as well as organized events such as OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down, falls are far too prevalent in the workplace.

In OSHA’s reveal of the top 10 safety violations of 2021 at the recent National Safety Council conference in Orlando, Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, pointed out that the total number of violations was down somewhat from the previous year, largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitating many employees working from home for much or part of the year. Forklift citations, for instance, were down by more than 500 over the previous year.

The 2021 list includes the same 10 violations as the previous year (and indeed, the same list from 2019 as well), although the order did change somewhat. The following slides report the total number of violations (based on OSHA’s preliminary count), as well as the ranking of each violation in the previous year.

As Kapust observes, OSHA makes this list available every year to help employers determine what areas in their workplaces they should focus on to improve safety.