Common OSHA Violations of 2021 (And How to Avoid Them)

June is National Safety Month, making it the ideal time to assess your own workplace safety. A good place to start is by reviewing statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to gain insight on likely hazards and determine if improvements need to be made at your organization. Learn more about common OSHA violations of 2021 and how to avoid them:

Fall Protection 

The most frequently cited OSHA violation is fall protection. Employees falling is among the most dangerous risks for injuries and fatalities in the workplace. If your workplace requires employees to work at elevated heights, it is crucial to provide fall protection, such as guardrails. Even if your employees are not working at elevated heights, you should also protect against falls by keeping floors and walkways clear of obstructions and as dry as possible. 

Hazard Communication

The second most commonly cited OSHA standards violation in 2020 was hazard communication. All employers with workplaces containing hazardous chemicals are required to adhere to strict communication guidelines for employee safety. To ensure you remain in compliance, verify all chemicals are properly labeled, and that employees are provided completed safety data sheets and comprehensive training on safely handling hazardous chemicals. 

Respiratory Protection 

Breathing in contaminated air in the workplace can contribute to serious illness, so it is crucial that you provide respiratory protection to meet OSHA standards if employees are subject to any fumes, dust, etc. In addition, you must also train employees on how they should use respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE) and require compliance on following workplace policy. 


A common OSHA violation comes from industries, such as construction, event planning, advertising, or hospitality, that utilize scaffolding for employees to temporarily work at elevated heights. Ensure you are constantly reviewing your worksites for hazards, abiding by maximum load, and verifying a solid foundation. It’s also required to offer comprehensive training to your employees on safety precautions in setting up, conducting work on, and dismantling scaffolding. 


Ladder safety lands as the fifth most commonly cited OSHA violation. Verify that any ladders in your workplace have a maximum load that doesn’t exceed the weight of the employee using it and any tools they may be holding. Train your employees to follow protocol, such as wearing non-skid footwear and never standing on the top step. 

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