Don’t Fall in the Safety Gaps

Osha’s 2019 List of Most Common Safety Violations

December 10th 2019
By: Cari-Ann Carty

It’s that time of year again. The end of the year is approaching and people are looking back at everything this year had to bring. Hopefully, this year treated you well but there is always some bad mixed in with the good.  When it comes to safety, this time of the year offers a chance to review and assess what could be improved in the coming months.

Safety+Health Magazine has released a list of OSHA’s top most-cited safety violations in 2019. This is a list of “serious violations” which OSHA defines as there being “a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.” So look out for these violations in your workplace to improve the chances that everyone will still be around for the following year. Sure, that’s kind of dark to think about but so is the weather this time of year.

Below are some common violations and examples of how they are not being followed. Take a look to see if any are familiar. Visit Safety+Health Magazine for this year’s complete list, the specific Standard code for each violation, and the total number of violations this year.  

Fall Protection

  • Not enough guardrails or safety nets are being used
  • Particular places of interest are unprotected sides or edges of work areas
  • Also low roof and steep roof areas

(Magic umbrellas and cans of Red Bull are not adequate safety measures)


  • Cross braces should not be used as a means of access to work areas
  • Scaffolding must be fully planked (no openings)
  • Scaffolding was not being placed on firm foundations
  • Too few guardrails

(Must… resist… urge to climb)

Hazard Communication

  • Workplace had no hazard communication program
  • No related trainings offered
  • Employers must have a safety data sheet for every hazardous chemical they use

(Safety symbols might make for an interesting trading card game)


  • Ladders are not extending at least 3 feet beyond the point of contact
  • Ladders are being used for purposes for which they were not designed
  • The very top rung or shelf is being used as a step
  • Ladders with structural defects must be taken out of service

(There is no restarting this game of Shoots and Ladders)


  • Procedures for how to lockout equipment are not being developed and used
  • Employees aren’t trained on these procedures
  • A periodic evaluation of the lockout/tagout is not being conducted
  • The lockout/tagout device is not being used by the employee

(One of the few times being locked out is a good thing)