Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration compiles an annual list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards across all industries. The majority of standards that OSHA has identified as the most frequently cited are directly applicable to the construction and residential home building industries.

Employers who were cited for violations in 2011 may have noticed that the penalties were higher than in the past. The average serious violation penalty for 2011 was $2,132 — more than double the average of $1,053 for 2010.

OSHA last year also issued 215 citations totaling at least $100,000 — up from the 164 in 2010.

OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards across all industries in FY 2011 were:

  1. Scaffolding, general requirements (29 CFR 1926.451
  2. Fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501
  3. Hazard communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200
  4. Respiratory protection (29 CFR 1910.134
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147
  6. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment (29 CFR 1910.305
  7. Powered industrial trucks (29 CFR 1910.178
  8. Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053
  9. Electrical systems design, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.303
  10. Machines, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212

Residential builders can take a few easy steps to reduce or eliminate the chance of being cited by OSHA.

During a Sept. 16, 2010 webinar on preparing for OSHA inspections, Brad Hammock of Jackson Lewis LLP reminded builders that they can take the following steps before a compliance safety and health officer (CSHO) ever sets foot on the job site.

  • Review their safety program 
  • Understand any national and local emphasis programs 
  • Develop procedures for an OSHA visit and train their employees in those procedures 
  • Have records (300 Logs, training records, etc.) readily available and up-to-date 
  • Make sure their workers are properly trained on the safety requirements of the job site 

For more information on complying with OSHA regulations, visit; or email Marcus Odorizzi at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8590.