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
It’s no secret that the construction workforce is dominated by men, but women are slowly increasing their numbers in recent years as gender barriers continue to be knocked down. With construction jobs expected to continue to grow over the next few years, women will play a significant role in filling job openings.
Construction employers are legally responsible for following and enforcing safety regulations on their jobsites. If caught not abiding by these rules and failing to keep workers safe, an OSHA violation and fine can follow. Recently, however, several contractors are also facing criminal charges following employee deaths on their jobsites.
After causing devastation in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian worked its way up the U.S. East Coast last week and eventually made its way up to Nova Scotia, Canada as a Category 2 storm. The storm left more than 369,000 without power in the Canadian Region, according to CBC, but also caused a tower crane to buckle and collapse in the city of Halifax.
A 2018 trench collapse in Colorado lead to the death of a construction worker named Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez. Now, his employer faces manslaughter charges for his death.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
Last fall, OSHA announced its intentions to explore updating the 2016 silica dust regulations that seemingly took the construction by storm. Their intent was to gain feedback on additional dust control methods that would be suitable for hazard control, as well as on additional tasks and equipment not currently covered by Table 1 in 29 CFR 1926.1153. Last week, they announced the next step they’re taking towards revisions.
Almost 18 months ago, an under construction pedestrian bridge on Florida International University’s (FIU) campus collapsed, killing 6 people and injuring another 8. While many investigations have closed, including OSHA’s scathing report, families of victims and survivors have been awaiting the results of civil lawsuits filed against the companies in charge of the projects.
The spring of 2019 saw 3 trench collapse deaths in a span of 10 days. One at a home construction site in Colorado, another during a culvert install in Marysville, Ohio, and a third at a residential site in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio. The latter has recently received a hefty fine and penalty from OSHA.
Personal fall protection devices are extremely important to saving lives and preventing injuries due to falls on a jobsite. Half the battle is getting your team to wear harnesses, but when they do, you need to trust that the devices will work when they’re needed. 3M has recently issued an immediate stop use and product recall on two of their fall protection products.
While placing concrete on the 7th floor of a new hotel in Houston, TX, 16 construction workers were suddenly sent falling to the 6th floor below, sending 9 of them to the hospital, according to local news reports.