The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) recently highlighted the importance of the “creating employer”(*) test for identifying liability for safety violations at multi-employer worksites. In Secretary of Labor v. ACrane Rental, LLC, OSHRC remanded a case where an administrative law judge (ALJ) dismissed an OSHA crane safety violation relying solely on the “controlling employer”(**) test. OSHRC concluded that the ALJ should have also considered the creating employer based on testimony from the OSHA compliance officer that the crane company was a creating and exposing employer.
The case reinforces that employers’ responsibilities at a multi-employer worksite are a critical factor in determining whether an employer is a creating, exposing, correcting, or controlling employer. If an employer falls into one of these categories, it has obligations with respect to OSHA requirements and could be cited for failing to fulfill its obligations.
(*) A “creating employer” is the employer that caused a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard. A creating employer can be cited in instances where none of its employees are exposed to the hazard but employees of other employers are exposed.
(**) A “controlling employer” has general supervisory authority over the worksite, including the power to correct safety and health violations itself or require others to correct them.