But Do You Know - 05/18/2020

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U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.

Monday, May 18, 2020


But Do You Know

Now as businesses are beginning to get back to work, it’s important to understand how to protect your company from costly OSHA citations that could be caused by the COVID-19 virus.

I’m guessing that most, if not all, of you understand that if you don’t provide employees the required PPE and make sure your employees practice safe social distancing, you could be cited if OSHA were to visit your workplace.

But do you know there is more than one way you could be cited by OSHA if an employee is potentially exposed to the virus? In fact, there are 4.

For citation purposes, OSHA has 4 classifications for contractors. Below I'll not only let you know what the four classifications are, but I'll also give you an example of how they can be cited.

  • An exposing contractor - The contractor whose employees are exposed to the hazard. Example - A guardrail is removed by another contractor, for whatever reason, and the exposing contractor's employees are exposed to the hazard.
    The exposing contractor is cited because he is responsible for protecting his employees from all hazards on a jobsite, even those created by other contractors.
    The exposing contractor often feels that he is being unfairly treated, particularly when he DID NOT CREATE the hazard.
  • A creating contractor - The contractor who created the hazard. Example - An electrical contractor removes a cover from an electrical panel box while working on it. He then walks away from the electrical box without replacing the cover, exposing other contractor's employees to an electrical hazard.
    The creating contractor is cited because he has a responsibility to ensure all employees on the jobsite are protected from hazards his employees create.
  • A correcting contractor - The contractor who has responsibility for actually correcting the hazard.
    Example - A contractor, as part of his contract, is responsible for providing guardrails on all floors and areas of a building where an employee is exposed to a fall hazard of 6' or greater.
    He fails to place guardrails in front of an elevator shaft and employees of various contractors on the site are exposed to a fall hazard.
    The correcting contractor is cited because, by contract, it was his responsibility to ensure that guardrails were installed to prevent employee exposure.
  • A controlling contractor - The contractor who has the authority, by contract or actual practice, to ensure that hazardous conditions are corrected. This is normally a General Contractor but can be another contractor working at the site who has subbed out a portion of his contract to another contractor.
    Example - A General Contractor has hired a roofing contractor and their employees are working without proper fall protection.
    The General Contractor is cited because he has the responsibility to ensure that all employees on his jobsite are protected from all hazards.

As you can see, one hazardous situation cited by OSHA on a multi-contractor worksite could result in citations to four different contractors. And when it comes to possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus, the same holds true.

As everyone goes back to work, please do your part to protect your employees from hazards in the workplace and your company from costly OSHA citations.

If you have any additional questions about how OSHA’s multi-contractor citation policy works, please contact us via live chat or by phone.

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Thanks for Reading and Please – Stay Healthy, Stay at Home When You Can, and/or Work Safe This Week

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U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.
Phone: 1-888-475-5353
Fax: 1-888-925-5353
Website: www.uscompliancesystems.com
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