Falling down on the job seems to be a perennial workplace issue, as does failing to provide adequate fall protection, because for the 12th year in a row "fall protection - general requirement" is the most cited standard violation, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement (DEP), presented preliminary data at the recent National Safety Council show in San Diego, reflecting violations occurring from October 1, 2021, to September 6, 2022. (The tally includes only federal OSHA data; data collected from state OSHA agencies is not included.)
All of the violations on this year's list also appeared on the previous year's list, although there was a good deal of shifting up or down the rankings. While fall protection kept its grip on the top spot, last year's # 2 violation (respiratory protection) dropped to # 3, while last year's # 5 violation (hazard communication) jumped to the # 2 spot. The slide show that follows indicates both this year's ranking as well as noting last year's.
One of the reasons respiratory protection violations declined in the past year, according to Kapust, was the gradual move beyond COVID-19 throughout workplaces. Companies have gotten better at recognizing the need to provide adequate respiratory PPE to employees, although Kapust noted that fit testing is still not being conducted as needed.
OSHA makes this list available every year, Kapust pointed out, to help employers determine what areas in their workplaces they should focus on to improve safety.