Occupational Safety and Health Act

    North America

    Occupational Safety and Health Act

    Under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (‘OSHA Act’) employers have a duty to provide a safe workspace, which is free from serious recognised hazards, and must comply with the standards, rules, and regulations issued under the OSH Act.   

    The Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (‘OSHA’) has published the Multi-Employer Citation Policy (‘the Multi-Employer Policy’)which clarifies in which situations multiple employers may be citable for a hazardous condition which violates an OSHA standard.

    Last Updated: July 30, 2019

  • Requirements

    The Multi-Employer Policy, sets out a two-step process to determine whether more than one employer may be cited for a violation:   

    • determine whether the employer is a creating, exposing, correcting, or controlling employerand  
    • determine whether the employer’s actions were sufficient to meet its obligations with respect to OSHA requirements. The extent of these actions will depend on which category applies to the employer.   

    An exposing employer is outlined as an employer whose own employees are exposed to the hazard.  

    The Multi-Employer Policy states that if the exposing employer created the violation, it is citable for the violation as a creating employer. However, if the violation was created by another employer, the exposing employer is citable if it: 

    • knew of the hazardous condition or failed to exercise reasonable diligence to discover the condition; and  
    • failed to take steps consistent with its authority to protect is employees. 

    It further states that, if the exposing employer has authority to correct the hazard, it must do so. If the exposing employer lacks the authority to correct the hazard, it is citable if it fails to do each of the following:  

    • ask the creating and/or controlling employer to correct the hazard;  
    • inform its employees of the hazard; and  
    • take reasonable alternative protective measures.  

    The Multi-Employer Policy states that in extreme circumstances (e.g., imminent danger situations), the exposing employer is citable for failing to remove its employees from the job to avoid the hazard. 

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