You and the person who offices next to you, or the person with whom you just shared a story in the break room, may not share the same employer. Some worksites contain a mix of workers that includes traditional employees, temporary workers placed by staffing agencies, and workers employed by contractors or subcontractors. These multiemployer worksites raise a host of issues, including worksite safety training.
Specifically, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Multi-Employer Worksite Doctrine allows the agency to cite several employers for an alleged violation at the same worksite. Likewise, in a number of cases, workers who suffer injury at a job site have filed suit against the operator of the site, even if the injured party was employed by a contractor or subcontractor.
Therefore, regardless of who employs a particular worker, it is important that each worker know and understand how his/her work and safety activities can affect the safety of other employers and workers at the worksite.
According to OSHA, the key to boosting safety at multiemployer worksites is effective communication and coordination among all employers and workers. At a minimum, effective communication and coordination among employers means that, before beginning work at a site, contractors, staffing agencies and their workers are made aware of:
Additionally, host employers and their workers must be aware of:
There are benefits to a multiemployer worksite, including flexibility and access to specialized skill sets. However, multiemployer worksites should ensure that all employers and workers are appropriately informed and trained so that all workers are protected against worksite hazards.