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Top 10 OSHA Citations

14 December, 2022

Are we getting safer after three years of a pandemic and a labor shortage? Perhaps a little bit. OSHA recently reported its top 10 citations for the fiscal year 2022, which ran from October 2021 through the most recent September.

“OSHA’s annual Top 10 list helps define trends so safety professionals can find the appropriate solutions,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council in a prepared statement. “Despite advancements in workplace safety, we continue to see the same types of violations each year. It’s more important than ever employers seek education and resources to keep their workers safe.”

Published in Safety+Health Magazine (a National Safety Council publication) as well as many other sources, here are the top citations that pertain to the paint industry.

#1: Fall Protection violations, by more than a two to one margin, come in first place for the twelfth year in a row, although the number of citations is slowly dropping. There were 5,424 citations in fiscal year 2020, 5,295 in 2021, and 5,260 in the most recent report. This is still an area that needs improvement; Occupational Health & Safety,, reports that there were nearly 50,000 nonfatal falls just a couple years ago. Make sure your workers are protected! The time and money you spend now will save you from lawsuits, downtime, and the guilt of knowing you coulda and shoulda done better.

#2: Hazard Communication, which involves alerting the workforce about any potentially hazardous chemicals produced or brought into the workplace.

#3: Respiratory Protection. Who likes wearing a respirator? No one we know! OSHA cited over 2,500 violations of this. There needs to be a program in place where everyone is educated on proper selection, use, and maintenance of respirators. Even if a coating seems safe or is odor free, protracted use may lead to breathing issues years down the road.

#4: Ladders. Here at APC we have seen a number of hazardous ladder uses just from people sending us photography. Make sure your crews are aware of general requirements for all ladders. A fall off a ladder can result in serious and lifelong injury.

#5: Scaffolding. Just about any time a worker is at height, safety is paramount. Workers on scaffolds over a certain height need to be protected from falling as well as from being hit by falling objects from above.

Two others in the top ten are germane to our industry… 

#8: Fall Protection Training. Just as important as protecting your employees from falling is training them in the use of fall protection equipment so they can protect themselves and each other.

#9: PPE. Personal protective equipment is needed to protect workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals, flying particles, loud environments, and other workplace hazards.
A quick look at the top ten is available here.

Types of citations
Citations can be classified as “willful,” in which case the employer knows it’s a safety hazard but intentionally ignores the risk, or classified as “serious,” in which case the employer probably knew, or should have known, about the safety hazard that could result in serious injury or death. In either case, as with the overall list, fall protection violations are far and away the most prevalent issues cited in each classification of violation.

Paint manufacturer on list of top fines
The list of largest fines includes one paint company: Yenkin-Majestic of Columbus, Ohio was fined $709,960 for a plant explosion that resulted in injuries and a fatality. According to Safety and Health Magazine, OSHA cited Yenkin-Majestic for 32 serious and two willful violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Other top fines were levied against a Family Dollar in Ohio, a Dollar General in New Jersey, and a construction company in New York. OSHA’s top penalty was given to ALJ Home Improvement, fined approximately $1.3 million as the company failed to implement fall protection training and procedure after one fatality, unfortunately resulting in a second.

If you have questions, make sure to contact OSHA so you can keep up to date regarding laws and regulations put in place regarding safety training and implementation.

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