OSHA Top Violations 2023 (+ How ISNetworld® Keeps You Compliant)

Posted by
Lance Roux
on Mar 6, 2023

Each year, OSHA fines increase to adjust for inflation. 2023 is no different. The penalty for a serious violation has skyrocketed to $15,625, failure to abate is an additional $15,626 per day after the abatement date, and the penalty for any willful or repeated violations is now a whopping $156,259 per violation.

And while following OSHA standards is essential for keeping your workplace safe, avoiding these penalties is also key for your business’s success. Knowing the most common OSHA violations can help you make preemptive adjustments in your safety programs, so you’ll be prepared when OSHA knocks on your door. 

Let’s dive into the most common OSHA violations from 2022 to ensure a compliant and safe 2023. 

What Are OSHA Violations?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that enforces workplace safety standards across the nation. With state partners, there are approximately 1,850 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers around the United States. In order to protect the wellbeing of these workers, OSHA creates strict safety standards that all U.S. businesses are expected to meet.

An OSHA violation occurs when an employer fails to comply with OSHA standards and puts employees at risk of injury or illness. These violations are often found during an OSHA inspection, which can be routine, the result of a recent accident or injury, or due to a safety complaint. 

OSHA violations typically result in a costly fine, but can also increase insurance costs, decrease workplace productivity, cause negative publicity or a worsened reputation, and even result in criminal penalties. Employers should avoid OSHA violations by following and maintaining OSHA standards to prioritize worker safety and prevent negative consequences for their business. 

Need Help Improving Your ISNetworld rating? See Our Guide to Simplify the  Compliance Process.

The Top OSHA Violations in 2022

Each year, OSHA releases the top safety violations found in the previous year. This not only gives us a broader picture of workplace safety in the United States, but can help employers avoid future consequences by highlighting common mistakes and pitfalls in safety programs. 

1. Fall Protection - 5,260 Violations

For the 12th year in a row, fall protection was the most frequently cited standard with more than double the number of citations of the second most-cited standard. Due to the risk of severe harm to workers, a fall protection violation will result in a hefty fine. 

Employers are required to provide fall protection for employees working at heights greater than six feet in the construction industry. Guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems are all considered fall protection, but it’s essential that employees are properly trained in using this equipment as well

2. Hazard Communication - 2,424 Violations

Employees have a right to know about any and all work hazards, and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure workers understand the hazards of their job. OSHA requires up-to-date written documentation of workplace hazards and will want to see evidence of how this is communicated to employees.

Employers should have a written hazard communication program and provide training on how to recognize and handle hazardous chemicals, as well as steps to take should an accident or spill occur. All hazardous chemicals must be properly labeled and stored. 

3. Respiratory Protection - 2,185 violations

Poor air quality and breathing hazards are especially prevalent in OSHA violations. Employees that are exposed to air contaminants must be given proper respiratory protection and specific training for keeping themselves safe during these working conditions. OSHA will want a written respiratory protection program and will expect employers to provide medical evaluations for employees who wear respirators.

4. Ladders - 2,143 violations

Improper use, failure to secure while in use, and failure to tag and remove defective ladders results in hundreds of fatalities and injuries every year. Employers are expected to provide safe ladders for employee use, as well as proper use training to avoid accidents. This standard extends to all ladder types, including portable ladders, extension ladders, and step ladders.

5. Scaffolding - 2,058 violations

All scaffolding has specific build requirements that must be followed to ensure the safety of workers. Employers must consider the design, construction, and use of scaffolding in the workplace, including any fall arrest or guardrail requirements.

Type of scaffold being used, weight it can support, and proper use of fall protection must be accounted for and communicated to any employee expected to use the scaffold.

6. Lockout/Tagout - 1,977 violations

Lockout/tagout refers to the physical tags and padlocks used to prevent the re-energizing of equipment and electrical circuits while they are under maintenance or repair. Strong written policies and follow-up trainings are essential for keeping employees safe around such potentially dangerous equipment.

7. Powered Industrial Trucks - 1,749 violations

Common violations surrounding powered industrial trucks, or PITs, include failure to provide equipment-specific training and failure to conduct competency reassessments every three years.

Employers are expected to train PIT operators on the safe operation of their specific truck and the hazards associated with their use.

8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements - 1,556 violations

As part of your larger fall prevention program, OSHA requires employees to be trained on how to recognize, inspect, and use the procedures of a fall safety program. This training must include how to properly use personal fall arrest systems and how to recognize a fall hazard.

9. Personal Protective and Life-Saving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection - 1,401 violations

Employers are expected to provide appropriate eye and face protection for employees and provide training on how to properly use this protective equipment. Most common violations include using a face shield without eye goggles and using face protection that does not meet industry requirements.

10. Machine Guarding - 1,370 violations

Machine guards must be provided by the employers, and employees must be given proper training on the safe use of machinery. Without proper use of machine guarding, there is severe risk of injury due to moving parts, fall from above hazards, hydraulics, balers, cutters, and even improper machine anchoring. 

Thousands of violations are found each year, but with ever-changing OSHA standards and the demands of day-to-day work, it can be difficult to stay on top of your safety program. However, to ensure the safety of your employees and avoid costly fines and damaging press, it’s imperative to take proactive measures regarding your workplace safety.

Procurement contractor databases like ISNetworld® can be a game changer in maintaining and monitoring your site’s compliance.  

How ISNetworld® Can Keep You OSHA Compliant

ISNetworld® is designed to streamline compliance pre-qualification processes for contractors and hiring clients. This system evaluates companies based on the safety data they provide, including current programs and policies, answers given to an extensive questionnaire, and the company’s OSHA record and history of workplace injuries and losses.

This centralized platform easily tracks and manages the safety performance of employees, while offering access to resources, trainings, and tools to ensure continued OSHA compliance. Companies can get the most out of their ISNetworld® membership by taking advantage of this streamlined system to easily track their own safety programs and ensure they remain compliant with OSHA standards. 

Unfortunately, earning and maintaining ISNetworld® compliance can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. An expert ISNetworld® consultant can ease the stress by assisting in every step of the application process and monitoring your approved account to maintain compliance.

Related Content: OSHA Citations and ISNetworld® Compliance


How an ISNetworld Consultant Can Help

Professional ISNetworld® consultants have years of experience working with database procurement sites and contractor management softwares. By pulling from their expertise, they can help you reduce errors in your application, and therefore limit the requests for more information, speed up the process of earning your certification, and help you design an improved program to generate a higher rating.

Achieving and maintaining higher ratings makes your organization look more attractive to hiring clients, making it more likely that you’ll earn better-paying contracts. Beyond that, something as simple as a missed deadline or a failure to update one document can result in losing your ISNetworld® certification. A safety consultant can continue to track your account to ensure you stay compliant, which will in turn keep you OSHA compliant.


Thousands of OSHA violations are being found every year, costing companies hundreds of thousands in penalty fees. Taking the time to join contractor management sites like ISNetworld® not only helps you stand out to hiring clients, but aids you in maintaining OSHA compliance.

Hiring a workplace safety consultant can save you time in completing the lengthy ISNetworld® certification process, so you can gain compliance and peace of mind that much faster. Don’t let a surprise OSHA inspection sully your company’s reputation and set your business goals back. Reach out today to learn how SafetyPro can get you ISNetworld® and OSHA compliant fast.  


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Tags: ISNetworld, OSHA Inspections, OSHA Recordkeeping, Compliance

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