The Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission, in vacating a citation issued to Summit Contractors Inc., has ruled that OSHA cannot cite general contractors for safety violations as the controlling employer at multiple employer worksites. OSHA’s multiemployer worksite policy provides that the Agency can cite general contractors for violations if the contractor creates the hazard, controls the worksite, or has authority to correct the hazard, even if the contractor’s own employees are not exposed. Under this policy, OSHA issued a citation to Summit for a scaffolding violation committed by a subcontractor in 2003. In its decision, the Review Commission determined the multiemployer policy cannot be used against a contractor that has neither created the hazard nor has employees exposed to it. It is anticipated that OSHA will appeal the decision to a U.S. Court of Appeals.
Although this decision was issued to a general contractor at a construction site, the decision undercuts the “controlling employer” aspect of OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy, which is also applicable in general industry settings.
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