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Top 10 OSHA violations in the workplace 2024


June 13, 2024


Bea Maureen Cayone


OSHA violations

Preventing injuries in the workplace should be every company’s main priority. Your employees keep the business running, so it’s only right to protect them from known casualties. To promote compliance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases different standards for every industry.

In this article, we’ve laid out the top ten OSHA violations in the workplace for 2024, so you can cultivate awareness and draft the necessary compliance training programs for your crew.

What are OSHA violations?

Avoid the nightmare of receiving violations at work. You don’t want OSHA to show up at your door and penalize you for noncompliance.

OSHA violations - Definition

Common OSHA violations occur when a company and its employees fail to observe the standards for safe workplace operations. There are six types of OSHA violations:

  • Serious - When the hazard causes an illness or accident that likely results in serious physical harm or death. Exemptions apply only when the employer is unaware or ignorant of the violation in good faith.
  • Other-than-serious - Hazards that are directly related to the job’s safety and health but are not serious in nature.
  • Repeated violation - The most serious type of OSHA violation, since it reflects the company’s willful ignorance of its recurring violations.
  • Failure to abate violation - OSHA violation citations include a deadline for correction. If the business fails to comply by the date, it may be charged with this and the maximum penalty until its resolution.
  • De Minimis violation - This is considered a technical violation of OSHA standards, but it doesn’t directly affect the workers’ health and safety.
  • Posting violation - OSHA requires employers cited for unsafe work operations to post a notice for at least three working days to inform their employees. Failure to comply results in this violation.

Every fiscal year, OSHA lists the top workplace violations for all industries. These are released on their website to inform employers about these commonly cited standards, so they can draft programs for correction before OSHA shows up at their door.

Read on to discover the leading safety violations to raise awareness and enforce OSHA compliance at your workplace today.

OSHA violation #1 - Fall protection

After a thorough inspection of general worksites, OSHA ranked fall protection as the top cited workplace standard in 2023, with a whopping 7,188 recorded violations in the U.S. Anything that causes the loss of bodily support or balance counts as a fall hazard, like unguarded floor and roof openings, roof edges, structural steel, and leading edges.

OSHA violation - Fall protection

Construction workers are surrounded by various fall hazards daily. Relieve your crew’s worries by investing in quality training programs. SC Training (formerly EdApp) offers an interactive course ideal for those looking to retrain their team with up-to-date information on fall prevention. They’ll learn various safety measures, common cases of faulty equipment, and the dangers of falling from heights.

What’s great about this training platform is that all courses are fully editable. So if you’ve got extra information you want to incorporate into your deck, you can fix it in a few minutes. SC Training offers over 80 templates, so you don’t have to design your lessons from scratch. Its powerful creator tool’s got you covered!

Recommended courses on fall protection:

Protect your business from OSHA violations with proper training. Sign up for SC Training today.

OSHA violation #2 - Hazard communication

Another high-ranking violation on OSHA’s list is hazard communication. Substances that threaten one’s health or safety are labeled chemical hazards. Examples are gases, flammable materials, and explosive compounds. While OSHA requires proper labels and safety data sheets in an accessible language, many employers still violate this requirement.

OSHA violation - Hazard communication

Lack of hazard communication results in a stained brand image, a loss of employee productivity, and reduced workplace safety. Communicate known hazards to your team through online training programs for quick access. Completing lessons doesn’t have to take hours, as platforms like SC Training offer bite-sized courses that can be taken in under five minutes.

Recommended courses on hazard communication:

OSHA violation #3 - Machine guarding

Recognized as every worker’s first line of defense against hazards, machine guarding protects your crew from accidents during regular operations. While these heavy pieces of equipment cut down on the production and manufacturing processes, machines can cause severe injuries if handled carelessly.

OSHA violation - Machine guarding

OSHA requires employers to offer one or more methods of machine guarding to protect operators from hazards, like sparks, rotating parts, and flying debris. Some examples of guarding methods are two-hand tripping devices, barrier guards, and electronic safety devices. These must be securely fastened to the machine to prevent additional injuries.

Recommended courses on machine guarding:

OSHA violation #4 - Ladder safety

Because ladders are essential in worksites, it’s no surprise that plenty of OSHA violations with this tool happen every year. Due to the neglect of conducting regular maintenance and inspections, ladders often become too cracked and rusty to use. This hazard produces serious injuries and, for some, even death. 

OSHA violation - Ladder safety

To prevent falls from happening at the work site, OSHA requires that ladders be used only for their designated purpose, kept free from oil and grease, and stored properly to avoid accidental movement. 

By investing in proper training for your crew, you can reduce the risk of having defective ladders in your workplace. Boost your crew’s confidence in working at heights by elevating your OSHA training online courses. Luckily, SC Training offers several courses on ladder safety. Each lesson can be completed in under five minutes on any device, so you don’t have to worry about disrupting regular operations.

Recommended courses on ladder safety:

OSHA violation #5 - Powered industrial trucks

Drivers of powered industrial vehicles, commonly called forklifts, must undergo training and certification before becoming operators. As forklifts are essential for hauling heavy objects around, keep your work site free from hazards.

OSHA violation - Powered industrial trucks

Some industries are tougher than others. Those in retail are responsible for keeping pedestrians out of harm’s way. Still, accidents happen when forklifts drive off loading docks, workers are struck by lift trucks, or they fall while on raised pallets.

Prevent violations and accidents at work by educating your crew on OSHA guidelines. This forklift training program by SC Training inspects the different kinds of forklifts, protection from known hazards, and standard operating procedures. Practice quizzes are sprinkled throughout the lessons to boost knowledge retention.

Recommended courses on powered industrial trucks:

OSHA violation #6 - Eye and face protection

Are your workers exposed to hazards like flying particles, liquid chemicals, light radiation, or chemical gases? If yes, OSHA requires you to offer them appropriate eye and face protection. The fitting of this protective equipment must be “reasonably comfortable” and not limit the wearer’s movements.

OSHA violation - Eye and face protection

Those in construction can invest in SC Training’s bite-sized program. Verified by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), this course complies with OSHA Standard 1926.102 on Eye and Face Protection. Your crew will learn the necessary precautions, appropriate gear, and first-aid basics.

Recommended courses on eye and face protection:

OSHA violation #7 - Lockout/Tagout

For maintenance, repair, and service workers exposed to hazardous energy daily, a lockout tagout (LOTO) system is necessary to safeguard them from harm. A LOTO is composed of two things: first, a lockout device, (e.g., a padlock) for the energy-isolating device; and second, a tagout device (i.e., a tag) to warn off employees from using the equipment until the tag has been removed.

OSHA violation - Lockout/tagout

OSHA reports that lockout tagout compliance training prevents over 50,000 injuries every year. As employers are required to enforce an energy control program, you’ve got to protect your team. LOTO training programs examine OSHA standards, established procedures for handling equipment, and how to control and isolate hazardous energy.

Recommended courses on lockout tagout:

OSHA violation #8 - Personal protective equipment (PPE)

For every workplace hazard your crew is exposed to, corresponding personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used. PPE is any clothing or wearable device that keeps workers from injuries. Common examples are hard hats, face masks, and disposable gloves.

OSHA violation - Personal protective equipment

If there’s no other workaround to onsite risks, OSHA requires employers to supply their workers with adequate PPE. But it’s not enough to give them the equipment. You’re also responsible for reinforcing its proper usage, storage, and maintenance.

Recommended courses on PPE:

OSHA violation #9 - Respiratory protection

The most dangerous thing about airborne hazards is that they aren’t visible to the naked eye. Your crew may unknowingly inhale harmful chemicals at the work site every day. The effects aren’t always immediate, as they take years to develop, but by then, it’ll be too late to reverse the damage.

OSHA violation - Respiratory protection

Maintain smooth operations by educating your crew on respiratory protection and common airborne hazards. SC Training’s four-part respiratory protection course is verified by the ASSP and studies OSHA Standard 1910.134. Learners will explore the basics of respiratory safety, types of respirators, and protection from common hazards.

Break the stereotype of formal training by adding gamification to your lessons. Platforms like SC Training have exciting features, like leaderboards, banners, completion certificates, and more! All so you can make your respiratory compliance training resources feel like a game, not work.

Recommended courses on respiratory protection:

OSHA violation #10 - Scaffolding

The construction industry employs a million workers using scaffolds. These temporary structures are made of wood planks or metal poles to support workers operating at great heights. Though useful, they account for a huge number of fatalities every year.

OSHA violation - Scaffolding

Scaffold-related accidents happen due to the absence of fall protection, the plank giving way, or when workers slip or are struck by falling objects. Eliminate injuries on the job site by teaching your crew the basics of scaffold safety, common hazards, and fall prevention systems.

Recommended courses on scaffolding:

How to report OSHA violations

Remember that workers have the right to file complaints on safety issues, injuries, and actions taken against them for voicing out their company’s non-compliance with OSHA standards.

If you believe a company is putting its employees at risk, you should file a report as soon as possible. Additionally, employees have the right to submit whistleblower complaints according to the protection laws administered by OSHA.

Prevent workers’ dissatisfaction by investing in their training. It will teach them to handle equipment properly and guarantee the absence of unnecessary hazards.

Start using the best training platform to prevent OSHA violations in the workplace. Join SC Training (formerly EdApp) now.


Bea Maureen Cayone

Bea Maureen Cayone is a content writer for SC Training (formerly EdApp), an eLearning platform that delivers advanced solutions for companies to seamlessly train their teams. Beyond the workplace, she enjoys catching up on her never-ending reading list, playing the piano, and spending time with her dogs.

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