True story There is a large homebuilder who is basically just a management company. The CG license is held by another company that sub contracts the actual trades. The contracts require all subs to abide by all applicable safety laws, insurance etc. The main company is isolated from the liability as well as 2 company's worth of lawyers can do. Someone gets hurt on the job and sues the parent company (deepest pocket) over safety violations the injured man's company did not observe. The justification was that the managers of the parent company tried to enforce established safety rules so they had accepted liability when the actions were not taken. OK we all want to see an injured guy get taken care of but the offshoot is they are now contemplating totally backing away from bringing up any safety issue that doesn't directly affect the parent company's employees to limit liability. The job supers want a safe job site but trying to actually enforce the rules exposes them to liability. What a twisted world we have created. No good deed goes unpunished.
Greg, That sounds really crooked if you ask me. I was under the impression that whoever owned the worksite was responsible for all that worked on it. Mind you you'll always get people that try and negate thier responsibilities in any way that they can, especially if it means they can't be touched by the law.
When you are dealing with OSHA the responsibility really lies with the employer.
The relationship between most "management company" home builders is closer to that of a home owner than an employer. They have an intervening general contracting company that holds the GC license and pulls the permits. The trade contractor hires the workers and is really the employer of record. The "builder" only manages the contractors. The contracts for both the GC and the management company say the trade company is responsible for obeying all applicable laws.
Obviously even 2 levels of separation between the worker and the management company is not enough if they have the deep pocket. The significant legal issue here is that the management company tried to make a safer work site and that action alone seemed to mean they assumed liability. If the management company did not train the managers and they just walked around, oblivious to the hazards, they would not have been liable for the trade not following the law.
[This message has been edited by gfretwell (edited 11-30-2005).]
It's been a long time since I lived where they have snow and even longer since I had a sidewalk but I seem to remember it went something like, if you shovel it, you are responsible for any ice that forms. If you let nature take it's course you have no liability. Usually you don't own the land under the sidewalk.