OSHA POWER BRIEF

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September 10, 2013

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Hello,

Welcome to the first installment of our new OSHA Power Brief series.

The series is designed to help educate and inform local business owners and managers regarding vital OSHA compliance, enforcement and regulatory issuesthat significantly impact the construction industry,and individual businesses.

With so many rules & regulations that apply to the construction industry, and ongoing rule and enforcement changes,  it’s difficult to keep up and it is not uncommon for misunderstandings to arise.  Our goal is to help minimize these misunderstandings and keep the Austin construction industry informed.

Why the name?  The information gives you the Power to be informed and make smart  decisions, and it’s presented in Brief (“The Skinny”) bite sized pieces, because we know how busy you are.   But if you want to learn more, refer to the “The Details” section of the email, or feel free to contact us directly for a free Q&A or consultation.

Here we go….

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THE SKINNY

Myth:  General contractors are NOT responsible for their sub-contractor’s OSHA and safety compliance while working on the GC’s jobsite.

Fact:  OSHA considers the General Contractor the “Controlling Employer on Multi-Employer work sites,” and therefore holds the general contractor responsible for keeping the work site safe and OSHA compliant.  This includes ensuring that their subcontractors are OSHA compliant.

General Contractors can be fined by OSHA for violations caused by a subcontractor, as well as violations caused by GC employees.  Also, General Contractors have additional civil liability in the event that one of their employees, or even the employee of a subcontractor, is injured or killed by a hazard caused by a subcontractor (or the GC).

If you want to learn more, see more details below…

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THE DETAILS

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Summary of General Contractor’s Legal Responsibilities and Liability

The general contractor is required by law to do the following:

Make Reasonable Care to Ensure Work Sites Are Free of Safety & Health Hazards which includes:

* Periodic inspections, frequent enough

* Effective system to correct hazards

* Effective, graduated enforcement

Coordinate With Subcontractors To Ensure a Safe Work Site

Enforce Subcontractor Compliance By Regularly Inspecting Work Sites & Directing Subcontractors To Correct Any Deficiencies.

In addition, the general contractor has the following OSHA & Civil Liability:

* OSHA can fine and cite general contractor for subcontractor violations

* Workers Compensation insurance only covers general contractor’s direct employees

* Subcontractor employees can sue general contractor, if they are injured

Muti-employer Worksites:

On multi-employer worksites (in all industry sectors), more than one employer may be citable for a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard.

Read more on OSHA’s rule on the General Contractors Reponsibility for holding Subs in Compliance at