Fifth Circuit Reverses Final Order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

In November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit examined whether the Secretary of Labor has the authority “to issue a citation to a general contractor at a multi-employer construction worksite who controls a hazardous condition at that worksite, even if the condition affects another employer’s employees.” By concluding he does have that authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Court reversed the Final Order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The case centers around Hensel Phelps Construction Company which acted as general contractor and oversaw the worksite for a new public library in Austin, TX. Hensel Phelps actions created a dangerous work environment for employees of subcontractors but not Hensel Phelps direct employees. When OSHA cited both Hensel Phelps and the subcontractor for violations, Hensel Phelps contested the citation. Read the full case here.