OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

December 29, 2004

Charlie Culver
P.O. Box 293
Trumbauersville, PA 18970

Re: Does OSHA's multi-employer citation policy apply to a homeowner who contracts with specialty contractors to perform construction on a house?

Dear Mr. Culver:

This is in response to your November 1, 2004, request to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for guidance on the application of the Multi-Employer Worksite Policy, [CPL 02-00-124 (formerly CPL 2-0.124].

We have paraphrased your questions as follows.

Question (1)(a): Scenario: A homeowner has no employees. The homeowner contracts with several specialty contractors (such as foundation, framing, roofing, plumbing and electrical contractors) to perform the construction activities necessary to construct or expand a home. Would the homeowner be considered a controlling employer under the Multi-Employer Worksite Policy?

Pursuant to Section 5 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), the requirements of the OSH Act and its implementing standards apply to "employer[s]." Under Section 3 of the OSH Act, "employer" is defined as:

a person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees...

Typically, a homeowner will not meet this statutory definition of an "employer."

In addition, a homeowner who contracted with independent contractors normally would not get involved in supervising/controlling any of the contractors' employees. That being the case, the contractor's employees would not be considered employees of the homeowner. Therefore, the requirements of the OSH Act and its implementing standards would not apply to the homeowner.

Question (1)(b): Same scenario as in Question (1)(a), with the added fact that the homeowner has expertise in construction safety (for instance, due to the homeowner being a construction safety professional). Does the fact that the homeowner has such expertise affect the answer?

No, as long as the homeowner does not meet the statutory definition of an "employer." Also, the fact that the homeowner is knowledgeable about construction safety does not make the homeowner responsible for supervising or controlling a subcontractor's employees.

If you need additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction