Multiemployer Sites in the U.S.: Project Control & Duty of Safety Care
- Vladimir Ivensky (Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- May 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 44 - 50
- 2015. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 28 since 2007
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- OSH risks related to subcontractors are significant business risks encountered by contractors that employ other contractors.
- Mitigating these risks is an important task of a hiring contractor’s management team, which should recognize statutory, contractual and control-generated duty of care to subcontractors.
- This article discusses the duty of safety care created by control over a subcontractor or over other project parties and the ways to mitigate the related liabilities.
In the absence of a clearly defined duty of safety care to subcontractors or other multiemployer project parties in OSHA regulations and in many state laws and regulations, recognizing safety-related duties, liabilities and mitigative strategies poses a challenge for any company hiring subcontractors or acting at multiemployer project sites. The duty of care can be regulatory (statutory), retained via a contract or retained via controlling (managing) actions in the field. Knowing the mechanism of retaining or avoiding the duty of care (and associated liabilities) is an important consideration when designing safety risk mitigative strategies at multiemployer projects.
This article reviews the mechanism of retaining the duty of care via control and provides an overview of risk mitigative strategies. It discusses two categories of negative scenarios related to the duty of care (both based on actual case studies):
- Scenario 1: A company had a duty of care to a subcontractor, but failed to mitigate the risk and to achieve the standard of care. A serious incident involving a subcontractor resulted in a lost gross negligence case.
- Scenario 2: A company does not have a statutory or contractual duty of care to a subcontractor, but unintentionally retains the duty of care through unnecessary safety management actions. Lengthy post-incident litigation resulted in no damages for the defendant.
It is recommended to consult with legal and safety representatives before setting up or participating in multiemployer field projects to develop effective third-party safety risk mitigative strategies. Those strategies should be based on either avoiding third-party-related duty of care or, when the duty of care is unavoidable, on implementing effective safety management programs that would ensure that sufficient levels of safety care and mitigation of liabilities are achieved.
|File Size||419 KB||Number of Pages||7|