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U.S. Appeals Court says general contractors can be cited for subcontractor violations

Codes and Standards

U.S. Appeals Court says general contractors can be cited for subcontractor violations

Ruling will prompt review of OSH decision that said GCs cannot be held liable for subs’ violations.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | January 3, 2019
Contractor on a job site

Courtesy Pixabay

OSHA can cite general contractors who fail to control hazardous conditions at multi-employer worksites, even if those conditions do not directly affect their own employees, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit recently ruled.

The decision will prompt a review of a 2017 case in which a Denver Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Commission administrative judge ruled that GCs cannot be held liable for the safety violations of subcontractors. The Appeals Court said that the case law on which the OSH judge based the decision was obsolete.

The 5th Circuit said more recent rulings have indicated that a general contractor could be held responsible for safety on the multi-employer site as a “controlling employer.”

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