Under the Multi-Employer Citation Policy, CPL 2-0.124, “more than one employer may be citable for a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard.” Any employer that exposes one of its employees to the hazards created by an unsafe condition may be subject to an OSHA citation.
Let’s say you are a construction general contractor involved in a multi-complex project like a mall or multi- family home project, like an apartment complex. To complete the project, you hire various craft subcontractors, who also hire subcontractors to do the job for them. A month into the project a few workers get themselves caught in an accident; one has died as result of his injuries.
As a general contractor will you be held responsible by OSHA for these incidences involving your sub-contractors? Who failed their obligations to keep employees safe on this worksite? To answer the first question, YES, as a general contractor you will participate in the OSHA investigation and could receive a possible citation from OSHA depending on the role you played in this accident.
To answer the second question, you must first understand what your obligations are regarding employee safety on a multi-employer worksite. If your are the controlling employer require your subcontractors to adhere to site safety policies and rules, then require them to have their own safety policies and training, and also have frequent and regular inspections and safety meetings. Provide an effective system to all contractors by which to report and fix hazards or shut down the site until the hazard is corrected.
Know your role. Are you the controlling employer, creating employer, exposing employer, or correcting employer? As a general contractor you would be a controlling employer, since ultimately you are responsible for the overall safety of the jobsite with the power to correct and to require others to correct hazards. Reasonable care must be taken by the controlling employer to prevent hazards. However the subcontractor is required to protect their employees even more so.
A creating employer is the employer who causes or creates the hazards that employees are exposed to. This employer can be cited for creating the hazard even if the employee injured is not their own. The exposing employer is defined as the employer who has employees that were exposed to the hazard. The correcting employer is responsible for correcting hazards found on the jobsite. Some employers may be a correcting and a controlling employer. Another scenario is the creating employer is also the exposing employer. Confused? Dive into it more here. https://www.osha.gov/doc/outreachtraining/htmlfiles/multi.html
In situations where an employer’s own employees are not exposed to a hazard, that employer may still be subject to OSHA coverage if the employer qualifies as a “creating,” “correcting,” or “controlling” employer. A two-step process is used to determine whether more than one employer may be cited for a hazardous condition.
Step One. The first step is to determine whether the employer is a creating, exposing, correcting, or controlling employer. Once you determine the role of the employer, Step Two is used to determine whether a citation is appropriate.
Step Two. If the employer falls into one of the four categories, it has obligations with respect to OSHA requirements. Step Two is to determine if the employer’s actions were sufficient to meet those obligations. The extent of the actions required of an employer varies based on which category applies.
Employers can always rely on OSHA 10 Hour Construction Safety training for entry level workers and 30 hr Construction Safety Training for supervisors to provide workers either foundational or supplemental knowledge in managing risks at a construction jobsite. Please visit our home page to know more about our OSHA- accepted online training course.