Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2021

by David Tullis, on May 15, 2022 2:30:00 PM

Year after year, forklift-related violations show up in OSHA’s Top 10 most common citations. Skipping daily inspections and failing to provide refresher training are just a few of the infractions that come with a $9,600+ fine. Read on to learn about:

    • The top 10 OSHA violations of 2021
    • Minimum and maximum OSHA fines in 2021
    • The 5 most common forklift-related OSHA violations


Below are OSHA's top 10 most-cited violations from 2021. Please note, OSHA classifies forklifts as “powered industrial trucks.”

        1. Fall Protection - General Requirements: (1926.501) 5,295 violations
        2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527
        3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026
        4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948
        5. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947
        6. Lackout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698
        7. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,666
        8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,452
        9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420
        10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113

Forklift/powered industrial truck citations fell to #9 from #7 in 2020. The total number of citations dropped too. In 2021, there were 1,420 citations, down from 1,932 the year before. That’s good news, but we’d all like to see forklift violations drop out of OSHA’s top 10. As the statistics below illustrate, forklift operator refresher training is an important first step.

DOWNLOAD our T.I.P.s (Toyota Information Partners)for OSHA's Top 10 Violations for 2021

The Top 5 Forklift-Related OSHA Violations

  1. Unsafe operation
    Driving with an elevated load, driving too fast, driving too close to platform edges and not following loading dock safety procedures are some of the most common reasons for a citation.
  2. Failure to provide refresher training
    Every forklift operator must receive refresher training every three years - sooner if they are involved in an accident, near-miss, or when reported for reckless behavior. Forklift operators may also require additional training when they are asked to operate a different class of forklift, or if a change in the workplace has created a new hazard.
  3. Missing/inadequate operator certification
    All forklift operators must have an OSHA-approved forklift certification for the class of forklift they utilize.
  4. Failure to remove unsafe trucks from service
    Whenever a forklift is found to be defective, in need of repair, or in any way unsafe, the truck must be taken out of service until it is restored to a safe operating condition.
  5. No pre-operation inspection
    Use these forklift daily inspection checklists to ensure the safety of your operators and detect minor issues before they become expensive repairs.

OSHA Fines for 2021
For 2021, OSHA’s minimum fine remained at $9,639 and the maximum penalty also held steady at $13,494. Failure to Abate fines are $13,494 per day, and for repeated violations, the penalty ceiling is now $13,937.

EHS Today notes, “In a few years, the maximum penalty amount for a single ‘willful’ or ‘repeat’ violation may be close to $150,000, depending on the rate of inflation over time."

Safety Is No Accident
No business wants to become a negative statistic. We can help you maintain your commitment to safety (and avoid expensive fines).

Need to schedule forklift operator refresher training? Let us know what time works best for you and your team. We can conduct training at your location using your equipment, whenever it’s convenient for you.

Lay the foundation for a safer workplace by choosing a forklift with superior safety features. Toyota’s commitment to safety is unmatched, and one of the main reasons Toyota forklifts are #1 year after year. Ask us about their patented System of Active Stability (SAS) technology and Active Mast Control (AMC).

Contact us online, by phone at (800) 226-2345, or in person at one of our nine locations. We're happy to answer any forklift or warehouse safety questions you may have

Winter Park


Further Reading
3 Ways to Avoid Increased OSHA Fines
5 Ways to Improve Warehouse Safety
Why Are Forklift Inspections So Important?

Forklift Operator Training - Schedule Your Course


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