Mac’s Safety Space: If you don’t think worker safety matters when it comes to accreditation…

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

If one accepts (as I do) that one of the fundamental goals of the accreditation survey process is to generate findings, there is no reason to think that frequently cited standards, etc., by other organizations providing oversight (for instance, our good friends at the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA) might not draw some attention when one (as one does) considers where compliance vulnerabilities might be found.

Recently, our friends at OSHA unveiled the most frequently cited safety violations for FY 2022 (October 2021 through September 2022).  There’s nothing that I can see that is particularly “squirrelly” from an occupational safety standpoint and they pretty much apply to the spectrum of workplace types.

I’m presuming that these citations are the result of both for-cause and routine surveys (no reason to think otherwise), but it might be useful to consider how compliance challenges in these areas might manifest themselves in your next accreditation survey.

It also seems likely that at least some of these (hazard communications, respiratory protection, PPE) are somewhat more “famous” as a function of the pandemic – both respiratory protection and PPE ranked higher in the previous year. Though I suppose, as is the case with any annual Top 10 lists, the “usual suspects” may move around in the rankings, but the perennial-ity of the items on the list is pretty well hard-wired.

The Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for FY 2022 are:

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,260 violations
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 2,424
  3. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,185
  4. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,143
  5. Scaffolding (1926.451): 2,058
  6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,977
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,749
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,556
  9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,401
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,370

At any rate, we know the accreditation folks are always looking for new things to cite – you probably want to work to limit any vulnerabilities you might have in these areas – it is, after all, the right thing to do!

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at