Construction projects frequently involve several different parties. There may be an owner and/or operator of an existing facility. There may be a consulting engineer or other professionals who assisted in the design and development of the project specification, and perhaps provided third-party on-site observations during the construction project. There may be a general contractor, and one or more specialty subcontractors.

This paper will explore the legal exposures of the various parties, both statutory and civil, assess the degree of protection afforded by typical contract provisions used to isolate or indemnify the various parties, and the limitations of most commercially-available general and professional liability policies.

First, the paper will present a hypothetical accident. Following the hypothetical accident, the paper will explore three areas of exposure:

  1. civil liability and contractual indemnity;

  2. statutory liability under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ("OSHA") multi-employer policy; and

  3. coverage afforded by general and professional liability policies and advantages of owner-controlled insurance programs.

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