Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes their top violations in the construction industry.  And typically, the most common violations are consistent year after year.  What separates 2023 is the number of citations involving Fall Protection, Scaffolding, Ladders, and the failure to use personal protective equipment (PPE) or other life safety equipment (LSE).  The following is the list of the Top Ten OSHA violations for 2023:

          (10)          Toxic and Hazardous Substances.  There were 382 citations issued for “hazardous communication” and improper warnings issued to construction employees.

          (9)            Excavations.  There were 395 citations issued for failure to provide proper and specific excavation requirements and instructions.

          (8)            Scaffolding – Aerial Lifts.  There were 481 citations issued for improper lifting equipment and supports for building scaffolding.

          (7)            General Safety and Health Provisions.  There were 586 citations issued for improper and incomplete safety and health provisions at the construction site.

          (6)            PPE and LSE – Head Protection.  There were 628 citations issued.

          (5)            PPE and LSE – Eye and Face Protection. There were 1,208 citations issued.

          (4)            Fall Protection. There were 1,354 citations issued for lack of proper training requirements.

          (3)            Scaffolding – General Requirements. There were 1,527 citations issued.

          (2)            Ladders.  There were 1,797 citations issued for improper use and securing of ladders on the construction jobsite.

          (1)            With almost four times the number of citations at 4,456, Fall Protection and the lack of duty to have/require fall protection including the lack of supervision.

In 2022, the number of inspections (7,105) resulted in 17,233 citations and fines in excess of $72 million.  That number rose to almost 18,000 citations and fines in excess of $75 million.  As expected, the increased number of OSHA violations translated into a significant increase in the number of construction accidents and injuries, including falls, electrocutions, being struck by object and being caught in or between objects. Other corollary claims included hostile work environments, lack of safety and training, lack of supervision and construction deficiencies. 

As we enter 2024, OSHA has increased the amount per violation. OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $15,625 per violation to $16,131 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $156,259 per violation to $161,323 per violation (effective January 11, 2024).  In terms of forecasting for 2024, we expect that the number of OSHA violations will continue to rise as labor shortages have caused many unskilled workers to enter the construction industry and has reduced the number of supervisors and management positions at the construction site. We will continue to monitor the impact of OSHA violations on construction accidents and associated claims/litigation.