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Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s multi-employer citation policy, several employers may be cited at once for OSHA violations at a work site where more than one company is operating. This helps ensure safe working conditions at multi-employer work sites because all employers present could be on the hook for workplace safety violations. Examples of multi-employer work sites are construction projects with several contractors.

Additionally, if a worker is injured at a construction or job site, citations for OSHA violations are strong evidence of hazardous conditions that can support a personal injury claim.

Generally, there are four ways an employer may be held responsible by OSHA for a hazardous condition that violates OSHA regulations at a multi-employer work site. An employer may be cited for an unsafe condition if the employer created, exposed its employees to, failed to correct or had control over the hazardous condition.

Creating Employer

An employer that caused a hazardous condition in violation of OSHA standards is called the creating employer. All employers at multi-employer work sites are prohibited from creating hazardous conditions, and a creating employer can be cited by OSHA for a violation even if the only workers exposed to the condition are employees of a different company.

Exposing Employer

An employer that exposes its own workers to a hazardous condition is called the exposing employer. If an exposing employer created the safety hazard, it may be cited as the creating employer or an exposing employer. Even if a different company created the hazardous condition, an exposing employer can be cited by OSHA if it:

  • Knew of the violation or failed to use reasonable diligence to discover it and
  • Had the authority to correct the hazardous condition, but did not do so

An exposing employer also may be cited for an OSHA violation if it lacked authority to correct the hazardous condition, but did not:

  • Ask the creating or controlling employer to correct it
  • Inform its employees of the hazardous condition and
  • Take reasonable alternative protective measures

In cases of imminent danger caused by the hazardous condition, an exposing employer may be cited by OSHA for failing to remove its employees from the job site.

Correcting Employer

A correcting employer is an employer working with the exposing employer on the same job, where the correcting employer is responsible for correcting hazardous conditions. A correcting employer must meet its obligations in correcting hazardous conditions and use reasonable care in preventing and discovering OSHA violations, or it also may be cited by OSHA.

Controlling Employer

An employer with general supervisory authority over the work site and the power to correct hazardous conditions or require others to correct them is called the controlling employer. Control over the work site may be explicit by contract or implicit by behavior. The controlling employer must use reasonable care to prevent and detect OSHA violations at the work site, and it may be cited by OSHA for failing to do so.

All employers are responsible for safe working conditions at multi-employer work sites. Injuries and accidents usually happen when contractors, subcontractors and employers do not follow safety rules. If you or a loved one was injured at a multi-employer work site, contact a personal injury attorney with experience in construction and job site accident cases to discuss your legal options.

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