Tuesday, June 19, 2007

OSHA - changes in federal regulations for construction employers

From the Jackson Lewis legal updates newsletter came this link to their article Federal OSHA Review Commission Overturns Enforcement Policy for Multi-Employer Construction Job Sites.

By a 2 to 1 vote, the federal Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission has dramatically altered the ability of the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) to cite general construction contractors for safety violations committed by its subcontractors. The Review Commission has uprooted OSHA enforcement policy that goes back 30 years. Secretary of Labor v. Summit Contractors, Inc., OSHRC Docket No. 03-1622 (decided April 26, 2007).


Summit signals a major change of direction for OSHA’s inspections of jobsite construction that can affect employer responsibilities on jobsites. General contractors who feel less constrained to assure the safety of their subcontractors, may cause the latter to become more self-reliant. They may not be able to depend on the general contractor for close safety monitoring unless this is made an express part of the subcontract. As a result, subcontractors may need to redouble their efforts to supervise workers carefully.
Read the entire article. I do not know how many readers might find themselves dealing with the federal OSHA, but I suppose this would be a good time to put in a good word for Indiana's OSHA (IOSHA). IOSHA has programs for helping businesses that would be worth checking into.