Multi-Employer Policy

Do you remember Abbott and Costello performing their comedy skit, "Who's On First"? The more Abbott tried to explain the player's name, position, and location to Costello, the more confusing it became to understand what was happening. Not only was it difficult to understand who was involved but, as the story spun out, it became even more difficult to understand who the players were and their exact role in the baseball game. The similarity between OSHA's Multi-Employer Directive to this skit is uncanny. Who plays the role of Controlling, Creating, Exposing or Correcting Employer? What are employers doing (aware or unaware) that defines them with this responsibility? And, what are the safety and monetary liabilities associated with the roles contractors assume and the activities they perform on a project? This presentation will provide background information on the elements of the Multi-Employer Directive, the issues that define the different types of employers, the legal implications and a case study that illustrates how you and your team can work safer and smarter.

What is a Multi-Employer?

The factor that characterizes a Multi-Employer situation is when more than one entity is working on a project site (all industry sectors apply).

OSHA's Multi-Employer Directive, CPL 02-00-124 - CPL2-0.124, provides guidelines for owners, corporations, developers, construction manager, general contractors, specialty contractors and architects to follow in order to control their work and project activities and to prevent their employees and firm from assuming unnecessary safety responsibilities and liabilities. The Multi-Employer Directive identifies the types of contractor/employers; determines the extent of the actions required of the contractor/employer; and defines reasonable care on a project site. In addition, this policy explains when citations should and should not be issued to Controlling, Creating, Correcting, and Exposing employers. On Multi-Employer worksites, more than one employer may be cited for conditions that violate an OSHA standard.

The four types of an employer are:

  • Controlling

  • Creating

  • Exposing

  • Correcting

Notice that these categories of employers are without regard to their contractual relationships one to the other. Lines of liability will not necessarily follow sub-contract relationships. Any contractor may be citable as one of the four types of employers.

OSHA and ANSI established a safety duty to exercise reasonable care to detect and prevent safety hazards throughout the worksite. This criterion is based upon:

  • Project scale.

  • Construction type and speed that will impact the frequency of the number and type of hazards that change.

  • Inspection frequency.

  • Trade knowledge and/or expertise.

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