Fretz construction Company
P.O. Box 266784
Houston, TX 77207-6784
Re: Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health Multi-Employer Worksites
As I stated during the recent workgroup meeting chaired by you on May 5,1999, I have concerns about two sections of the 05-1999 draft.
"Controlling Employer or Manager" the draft outlines what is meant by the word "controlling". However in almost all situations it is difficult to determine.
First the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in order to protect the employee, and made the employer responsible for a safe place to work. There is nothing in the Act, to my knowledge, that speaks to anything other than the employer/employee relationship. Subcontractor employees of any tier are not employees of the general contractor.
Second in many states (North Carolina being one) and or many projects we have multi-prime contractors sometimes without a Construction Manager. To determine who has contractual control of the safety would require compliance officers to be able to read, interpret and understand legal documents and I do not believe this is the intent of the Act. Compliance Officers with or without law degrees (and I suspect the latter is in the majority) are not practicing law, nor should they.
It is my opinion that the concept of Controlling Employer should be removed from the draft.
"Reasonable Care Standard"
This term has an infinite number of definitions. It is impossible for compliance officers to apply this term equally in each and every jurisdiction. If one looks at the problem we are experiencing in the health care industry and the medical professional liability arena, courts cannot agree to what is meant by "reasonable care". Again this is another section to be revised.
Felipe, I realize you and the ACCSH committee have worked hard on this draft, and you are to be commended. However these two items will I'm certain be tested by the courts if the committee submits this draft to OSHA and it becomes a standard.
U.S. Department of Labor | Occupational Safety & Health Administration | 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210 Telephone: 800-321-OSHA (6742) | TTY www.OSHA.gov
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