Adobe Stock / chatchai
Adobe Stock / chatchai

Multi-employer work sites are a frequent occurrence in the construction industry as employees from various companies often occupy the same job site over the duration of a project. This creates risk if workplace hazards are found, as OSHA's ability to cite employers is not limited to workplace conditions that are unsafe for direct employees. The agency has the ability, rather, to cite employers for conditions that could result in injury to another company's employees. Mondaq provides a detailed breakdown of what employers should know about OSHA's multi-citation policy.

Before an employer can be cited, however, OSHA must engage in a two-step process to first categorize the employers on the worksite and then determine whether they have met their obligations. The four categories of employer are:

  • creating employer;
  • exposing employer;
  • correcting employer; and
  • controlling employer.

The policy makes clear that an employer's analysis of its safety obligations should not stop upon a determination that one category applies. For example, the policy provides that a creating, correcting, or controlling employer will often also be an exposing employer. Likewise, the policy states that exposing, creating and controlling employers can also be categorized as correcting employers if they are authorized to correct the hazard. In short, when evaluating an employer's obligations on a multi-employer project, it is a best practice to compare the requirements for each category with the facts surrounding the employer's role on the worksite.

An employer can have multiple roles under the Policy (i.e., a controlling employer could also be an exposing employer depending on the circumstances). In addition, the actions required by an employer vary based on which category applies. As a result, companies performing tasks on multi-employer worksites should be aware of their potential responsibilities under each standard to ensure a safe workplace. General contractors who do not control hazardous conditions at a multi-employer worksite can be cited by OSHA even if those conditions do not directly affect their employers.

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