All employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. When a worksite involves multi-employers, more than one employer may be liable for ensuring an employee’s safety.
It’s easy to say that it’s a shared responsibility. But how do you divide, or share, it?
The answer lies in OSHAs multi-employer worksite policy.
Responsibility is determined by first looking at the role each employer has with regards to the hazard. OSHA defines employers as:
- Creating, those responsible for causing a hazardous condition.
- Exposing, those whose own employees are exposed to the hazard.
- Correcting, those responsible for correcting the hazard.
- Controlling, those with general supervisory authority over the worksite, including the power to correct safety and health violations.
The extent of what an employer is required to do, with respect to OSHA’s requirements, depends on whether it falls into one of these four categories. These categories determine the actions required and responsibility varies based on which category applies.
OSHA’s multi-employer worksite policy gives examples of each category. Keep in mind it is possible for an employer to have multiple roles.
The law requires employers to provide a workplace free from hazards and known dangers, which includes:
- Finding and correcting safety and health problems.
- Eliminating or reducing hazards by making changes in the working conditions.
- Providing PPE when needed.
- Educating employees about hazards through training, labels, information sheets and other systems.
- Keeping accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Performing tests in the workplace required by some OSHA standards such as air sampling.
- Providing medical exams as required by OSHA standards such as hearing tests.
- Notifying OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace incident in which there is a death or when 3 or more workers go to the hospital.