OSHA has long used the language in the OSH act to find and hold multiple employers accountable for the actions of another on construction job sites. For decades, OSHA would not only cite the employer whose employees were exposed to hazards, but would also cite the employer who was designated the “controlling employer” on-site, which is most often the general contractor.
According to JD Supra, a recent court ruling in Texas has taken away that authority from OSHA in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In Acosta v. Hansel Phelps Construction Co., an administrative law judge ruled against OSHA, arguing that the multi-employer doctrine was invalid in the 5th Circuit, since a previous precedent had already been established in a different case. The 5th Circuit covers the three states mentioned above.
In the specific case mentioned above, OSHA cited both a subcontractor and the general contractor for exposing employees to an excavation cave-in hazard, but none of the general contractors employees were exposed to the hazard.
In order to preserve that authority and avoid federal judges being split on their rulings in the future, OSHA has filed for an appeal with the 5th Circuit. The administration argues that the case used as precedent did not involve OSHA, but instead an instance of negligence. JD Supra suggests that employers shouldn’t take OSHA lightly, as they expect them to “vigorously defend and enforce its multi-employer” doctrine.
Full story: OSHA Appeals Decision Invalidating Its Multi-Employer Citation Policy | JD Supra
Traditional safety training for construction workers includes OSHA 10-hour or 30-hour courses, toolbox talks, and safety inspections. Those training techniques are all important and necessary, but construction workers are an extremely hands-on group of individuals and putting them in real life situations can be much more beneficial to them instead of classroom training.
Ladders are one of the most widely used and necessary pieces of equipment on a construction jobsite. They’re also one of the most misused and abused pieces of equipment on a jobsite. In addition to being one of the most frequently cited OSHA violations each year, it also accounts for too many of the industry’s yearly fatalities and countless injuries.
Falls continue to be the number one leading cause of death on construction sites across the country, accounting for around 40% each year. Even if you can convince your construction crew to wear personal fall arrest systems each time they’re required, proper training is required to select the correct type of fall protection and the anchor points, as well as performing proper inspections of the equipment. An app called Harness Hero is trying to help solve the latter problem.
Even though OSHA recently eliminated the need for employers to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301, citing privacy concerns, companies are still responsible for submitting OSHA Form 300A – and the deadline is fast approaching.
Multi-employer worksites are extremely common in the construction industry, but they can still make work extremely complicated. One of those complications results when a subcontractor receives a governmental violation, such as an OSHA violation. As a controlling employer on the site, can a general contractor be held responsible for safety hazards of a subcontractor? One court says yes.
After an abundance of delays on rule that would require crane operators to be formally qualified to operate, OSHA finally landed on an effective date of February 7, 2019. After receiving feedback from industry partners, OSHA has decided to delay enforcement for 60 days for contractors who make a “good faith effort” to comply.
As has been expected for a few months now, OSHA has officially removed the requirement for large companies with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301. The administration cited privacy concerns as the reason for the change.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Since the 2016 Federal budget was passed, OSHA has increased their maximum citation penalty amount to adjust for inflation on a yearly basis. The 2019 increase has recently been announced.