This author is engaged in the development of safety and health programs and standards for multi-employer worksites. He has participated in the development of standards, conducted training, seminars and worked directly with clients to gain the cooperation of parties to assure full participation and coordination of controlling employers, subcontractors and independent contractors. The author has also been involved in accident investigations and litigation where the multi-employer concepts have been a key component.

What Is the Importance of Safety on Multi-Employer Worksites?

According to the OSHA Act, each employer has responsibility for the safety and health of his/her workers on a multi-employer worksite but the role of the general contractor or construction manager is different from the role of subcontractors who specializes in the means and methods for their own work. This presentation will explore areas of responsibility for safety between controlling employers and other types of employers at the jobsite. OSHA under the multi-employer worksite policy may hold a controlling, creating, exposing or correcting employer responsible for construction worksite hazards. Increasingly the courts have also held controlling type employers responsible for accidents and injuries. A better understanding of the rationale being utilized in making determinations for citations and liability is helpful for each kind of employer in avoiding accidents and injuries, as well as, problems with OSHA and litigation.

An important question which must be answered in order to have a safe project is how these controlling contractors and subcontractors should interact to provide effective safety programs, avoid OSHA citations and litigation. This interaction requires each of these parties to do what is necessary to work together in an effort to fully implement a safety and health program. Too often in the past, parties attempt to opt-out of the safety and health effort through contracts or agreements which undermine the essential concept or cooperation.

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