OSHA Directive Clarifies Multi-employer Citation Policy

New OSHA directive attempts to clarify the agency's multi-employer citation policy as stated in the Field Inspection Reference Manual.

Earlier this week, OSHA put out a directive in an effort to clarify the agency's multi-employer citation policy. The OSHA-wide directive suspends Chapter III C. 6. of OSHA's Field Inspection Reference Manual (FIRM).

The revised policy provided in the directive is in full force for all industry sectors. It is effective from the date of issuance, Dec. 10, 1999.

OSHA decided to implement the change after realizing the present language in regarding multi-employer worksites was clouded.

According to the directive, "This revision continues OSHA' s existing policy for issuing citations on multi-employer worksites. However, it gives clearer and more detailed guidance, including new examples explaining when citations should and should not be issued to exposing, creating, correcting and controlling employers."

OSHA said these examples, which address common situations and provide general policy guidance, are not intended to be exclusive.

"In all cases, the decision on whether to issue citations should be based on all the relevant facts revealed by the inspection or investigation," the directive says.

The new directive is not intended to change or impose new duties on employers.

The revised multi-employer worksite policy says, "On multi-employer worksites (in all industry sectors), more than one employer may be citable for a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard."

A two-step process must be followed in determining where more than one employer is to be cited.

  • The first step is to determine whether the employer is a creating, exposing, correcting, or controlling employer. The definitions of each of these can be found in the directive itself.
  • If the employer falls into one of these categories, it has obligations with respect to OSHA requirements. The extent of the actions required of employers varies based on which category applies.

For examples of how to determine into which category an employer falls and to read the complete directive, go to the OSHA Web Site directive section at www.osha-slc.gov/OshDoc/Directive_data/CPL_2-0_124

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