Who’s Liable on a Multi-Employer Worksite? - Worksite Medical

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Citations on a Job Site with Multiple Employers?


Staying on top of safety and health hazards on a job site is a daily task for employers.

On multi-employer job sites, however, understanding safety responsibilities becomes even more complicated.

According to OSHA’s Multi-employer Citation Policy, multiple employers on a single job site can be cited for a single violation. 

A “multi-employer” worksite is where employees, whether they be full-time, temporary, or contract, report to different employers who work on-site together.

This commonly occurs on large construction sites with several teams comprised of general contractors and subcontractors.


Related Article: Subcontractor Fines for Asbestos Exposure


These sites can be difficult to regulate, and it can be hard for employers to know the exact parameters of their specific compliance responsibilities.

However, OSHA has a method for determining each employer’s responsibilities.

When a violation occurs, inspectors group employers into one of four categories:

  • the Creating Employer,
  • the Exposing Employer,
  • the Correcting Employer,
  • and the Controlling Employer. 


Additionally, it’s possible for a single employer to fit into one or more of these groups. 


The Creating Employer


As the name might suggest, the creating employer is liable when they cause a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard.

This employer can be cited even if the affected employees do not report to them. 


The Exposing Employer 


The multi-employer citation policy defines an exposing employer as an “employer whose own employees are exposed to the hazard.”

Even if the hazard was caused by another employer, the exposing employer can still be cited if they knew about the hazard in question or failed to “exercise reasonable diligence” to discover it.

Citations may also occur if the employer fails to protect employees under the authority of his/her role.

Exposing employers citations often occur for failing to:  

  • Ask creating or controlling employer to correct the hazard; 
  • inform employees of the hazard;
  • take protective measures against the hazard;
  • and, remove employees to correct an imminent hazard


The Correcting Employer 


The correcting employer is responsible for installing or maintaining safety equipment on the job site.

If this employer is working with the exposing employer, and fails to take reasonable care in discovering, preventing, and correcting violations, he/she can be cited. 


Controlling Employer


The multi-employer citation policy defines a controlling employer as one “who has general supervisory authority over the worksite, including the power to correct safety and health violations itself or require others to correct them.”

Usually, the controlling employer role is established by a contract between the multiple employers. 

Reasonable care is expected from the controlling employer to prevent and detect violations. However, a controlling employer is not usually required to have the same level of day-to-day involvement as an employer would over its own employees.


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Depending on certain factors, controlling employers do not have to inspect the worksite as frequently, and do not have to have the same knowledge of standards as their hired employers. 

Companies engaged in multi-employer worksites endure a much wider scope of potential liability.


A Safer Workplace


Keeping your workplace OSHA compliant is especially important.

For large-scale worksites, mobile medical surveillance is a convenient way to stay on top of employee health across the board. 

Worksite medical can bring a suite of occupational medical testing services directly to your worksite — including audiometric exams, respirator fit testing, vision exams, and heavy metal screening. 

Learn more about instituting a mobile medical surveillance program for comprehensive employee health screening here.

Request a Quote or Schedule Your Testing