OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standards of 2019

Updated: Jun 15

April 7, 2020 – Every year OSHA publishes its most frequently cited standards online for public access. Users can run reports using query tools (Frequently Cited and Industry Profile) to access records on compliance and enforcement activities by industry sector and size of the organization. 

Frequently Cited OSHA Standards: This allows the user to determine the most frequently cited Federal and State OSHA standards for a given NAICS code [1].

Industry Profile for an OSHA Standard: This enables the user to determine which NAICS classifications have the most occurrences of citations for a specified OSHA standard.

Information collected from the database is particularly useful to the safety practitioner as a means to reinforce hazard surveillance activities, generate awareness in safety meetings, or gain insight into compliance priorities in their workplace health and safety program.

If you are familiar with OSHA’s query tools then you know they are straightforward to use but can generate massive amounts of data with limited filtering options. To save you time, we searched OSHA’s database for the 2019 fiscal year (October 2018 - September 2019) to determine the top 10 most frequently cited standards across all industries (Table 1), as well as the single most reoccurring citation received by each of the (24) NAICS economic sectors [2] (Table 2).

Table 1. Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards in 2019 (All Industries)

Data retrieved February 29, 2020

Tot#Cit = the sum of the citations for the standard across all industries.

Tot#Insp = the number of inspections in which one or more standard citations were issued across all industries. (Note that the total is not the sum of the number of inspections associated with each standard cited: multiple standards may be cited in one inspection).

Tot$Pen = the sum of the fines for the standard across all industries.

Table 2. Most Frequently Cited Standard per Sector in 2019

Data retrieved February 29, 2020

#Cit = the number of times the specified standard was cited for that Sector. #Insp = the number of inspections in which the specified standard was cited for that Sector. $Pen = the total penalty amount currently assessed for the specified (#cited) citations for that Sector.

While 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication was the most cited standard for 10 of the 24 NAICS economic sectors, 1926.501 – Duty to have fall protection, received the most citations across all industries in 2019 (7,142 citations). There’s no excuse for a lack of discussion at your upcoming safety meeting if you include 2019 citation statistics in your agenda. This month, challenge your team to identify a hazard (or good practice!) that aligns with the most cited standard(s) for your industry. It may be a good idea, also, to review the regulatory requirements and operational processes that relate to those standard(s) with your team as a refresher.

[1] North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.

[2] NAICS aggregation levels: Economic Sector (2-digit code), Economic Subsector (3-digit code), Industry Group (4-digit code), Industry (5-digit code), National Industry (6-digit code).

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