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OSHA categories may affect construction worksite injury claims

The Occupational Safety and Health Act protects New York workers against workplace injury.

The American Bar Association explains how OSHA’s multi-employer directive categorizes employers in a way that allocates responsibilities for workplace safety. At construction worksites, overlapping roles may complicate liability for a work-related claim.

OSHA outlines four employer categories

OSHA places employers at multi-employer worksites into one of four categories, and the ABA gives examples of how these categories apply in a construction workplace setting:

  • Creating employers take actions that give rise to a worksite hazard. For example, a contractor may cover a hole in the floor with plastic but not mark or block the hole.
  • Exposing employers put employees at risk by subjecting them to danger. In the example of the hole, this person might direct someone to work in the vicinity of the hazard.
  • Controlling employers control worksite safety. These employers might conduct an inspection that reveals the hole, and they would be responsible to guard the hazard or require someone to fix it.
  • Correcting employers have responsibility for correcting worksite hazards and, in the construction example, might install barricades or signs around the hole.

Employers may have multiple roles

Employers may fall into more than one category based on factors like behaviors, activities and contractual obligations. For example, employers who take initiative to correct unsafe behavior may find themselves classified as correcting employers obligated to fix hazards. Construction work introduces even more complexities as relationships among subcontractors and other parties can blur lines between the categories of employers.

Employers and property owners may have liability

Employers who fall into a multi-employer category may find themselves subject to both OSHA citations and civil liability for damages for worksite injuries.

State law may also impose liability on parties who own and control construction sites. The first step towards helping your claim is to contact a skilled personal injury attorney like those at Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany, PLLC.