Top 10 Construction Industry OSHA Violations

We’ve compiled the list of Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for Construction for fiscal year 2022 (October 2021 through September 2022).

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases the Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards from the previous fiscal year. By releasing the list, OSHA hopes to bring greater awareness to the standards most commonly cited for violations to help employers focus their efforts to make workplaces safer for employees.

The list OSHA provides covers all industries, so it doesn’t provide much insight into which standards are most cited for a specific industry, like construction. OSHA also has separate sets of standards with different rules to control safety concerns for the construction, agriculture, and maritime industries, in addition to their General Industry standards.

Lucky for us, OSHA has a website where you can search the Frequently Cited OSHA Standards by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes as well as establishment size and by federal or state jurisdiction.

Below are the Top 10 Frequently Cited OSHA Standards for Construction using NAICS Code 23 for the 2022 fiscal year. Included are the title, standard number, the Top 10 ranking from the previous year, and the number of citations issued.

Top 10 Frequently Cited OSHA Standards for Construction

1. Subpart Title: Fall Protection
Standard Number: 1926.501
Title: Duty to Have Fall Protection.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 1
Number of Citations: 4,456

2. Subpart Title: Ladders
Standard Number: 1926.1053
Title: Ladders.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 2
Number of Citations: 1,797

3. Subpart Title: Scaffolds
Standard Number: 1926.451
Title: General Requirements.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 3
Number of Citations: 1,527

4. Subpart Title: Fall Protection
Standard Number: 1926.503
Title: Training Requirements.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 4
Number of Citations: 1,354

5. Subpart Title: Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment
Standard Number: 1926.102
Title: Eye and Face Protection.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 5
Number of Citations: 1,208

6. Subpart Title: Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment
Standard Number: 1926.100
Title: Head Protection.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 7
Number of Citations: 628

7. Subpart Title: General Safety and Health Provisions
Standard Number: 1926.20
Title: General Safety and Health Provisions.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 6
Number of Citations: 586

8. Subpart Title: Scaffolds
Standard Number: 1926.453
Title: Aerial Lifts.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 9
Number of Citations: 481

9. Subpart Title: Excavations
Standard Number: 1926.651
Title: Specific Excavation Requirements.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 8
Number of Citations: 395

10. Subpart Title: Toxic and Hazardous Substances
Standard Number: 1910.1200
Title: Hazard Communication.
FY2021 Top 10 Rank: 10
Number of Citations: 382

Note: The data FY2021 rank is current as of January 28, 2021. The data for position and number of citations for FY2022 is current as of October 11, 2022. 

Key Takeaways

The FY2022 list is nearly identical to the FY2022 list in terms of which citations made the Top 10.

In fact, the list has been fairly consistent for years, with most of the same standards topping the list for citations year in and year out. Employers should take note of this list and try and incorporate this in their safety training and toolbox talks.

Violations for standards revolving around fall hazards continue to dominate the list, which isn’t surprising since falls are the leading cause of construction worker deaths every year. Six of the 10 standards making the list had to do with fall protection, ladders, and scaffolding.

Avoidable, Yet Costly, Safety Violations

In addition to the very real possibility that violating OSHA standards can easily lead to accidents, injuries, and even death, these citations cost the construction industry millions of dollars each year.

OSHA handed down 17,233 citations from 7,015 inspections in FY2022 to construction companies, totaling $72,119,017 in penalties. These numbers are lower than in FY2021, but these numbers are preliminary because not everything has been reported this close to the end of the last fiscal year.

Remember, OSHA standards are the bare minimum of what construction firms should be doing to protect workers. Be sure to check out our 10 Construction Site Safety Tips that address how to protect workers from hazards created when these standards are violated.

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