House and Senate bills, H.R. 1648 and S. 665, both designed to reform the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, would expand the law's general duty clause to include employees who work for contractors and independent contractors at multi-employer worksites. The OSH Act currently extends general duty protections only to a company's own employees.

The House version, introduced by Rep. Miller (D-Calif.), is a bit more narrow and would limit general duty clause coverage to hazards “that the employer creates or controls,” or to which the employer exposes any direct employee or other person performing work at the worksite.

Both the House and Senate bills modify the general duty clause to allow for per-employee, or instance-by-instance, citations under the Occupational Health & Safety Administration’s (OSHA) egregious penalty policy. This provision would address a ’97 decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Secretary of Labor v. Arcadian Corp. which prohibited OSHA from citing employers for each employee exposed to a hazard under the general duty clause.

The bills have been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, respectively.

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