Company’s Own Employees Need Not be at Risk
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Company’s Own Employees Need Not be at Risk

The Secretary of Labor asked the court to weigh in on a decision of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission finding the Secretary does not have authority to issue a citation for a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) to a general contractor that controls a multi-employer construction worksite if the hazardous condition at issue did not affect the general contractor's own employees. The Fifth Circuit reversed decades-old precedent to hold the Secretary has the authority to issue citations to a controlling employer at a multi-employer worksite for violations of OSHA standards, regardless of whether the controlling employer's own employees were affected by the violations. In making its determination, the court found the law is unclear on this issue and based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Chevron USA Inc v. NRDC it must defer to the agency’s interpretations of federal law if the underlying statute is ambiguous and the interpretation is reasonable.

Acosta v Hensel Phelps Construction