Now more than ever, it’s important for companies to clearly establish who is responsible for safety at multi-employer worksites.
A federal court has upheld OSHA’s multi-employer policy, which says controlling employers may be responsible for the safety of other employers’ workers, including when a general contractor hires subcontractors.
The court has overturned the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) which previously ruled the policy violated OSHA regulations.
Specifically, OSHRC had said the “controlling employer” part of the policy wasn’t valid when applied to general contractors who neither created hazards nor exposed employees to hazards on projects they control. But the court disagreed.
Summit Contractors had subcontracted almost all work on a construction project.
Subcontractors’ employees had been working on scaffolds without personal fall protection or guard rails. Summit’s project superintendent warned the other companies’ employees about using fall protection.
After an inspection, OSHA cited Summit for violations involving the subcontractors’ workers.
Now, the court has upheld OSHA’s ability to cite Summit.
Cite: Solis V. Summit Contractors, Inc., 8th Circuit, No. 07-2191, 2/26/09.