Hughes Gen. Contractors, Inc. v. Utah Labor Comm’nAnnotate this Case
The Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division (UOSH) cited and fined Hughes General Contractors, which oversaw a construction project involving over 100 subcontractors, for a subcontractor’s violation on the project. In determining that Hughes was responsible for safety conditions for the subcontractor’s employees, the UOSH invoked the multi-employer worksite doctrine, which makes a general contractor responsible for the occupational safety of all workers on a worksite, including those who are not the contractor’s employees. Both an administrative law judge and the Labor Commission’s Appeals Board upheld the citation and the multi-employer worksite doctrine, which federal OSHA regulations have adopted and federal courts have upheld. The Supreme Court reversed the citation and penalty, holding (1) the multi-employer worksite doctrine is incompatible with the governing Utah statute, Utah Code 34A-6-201(1; (2) the responsibility for ensuring occupational safety under the governing statute is limited to an employer’s responsibility to its employees; and (3) because Hughes was not an employer of the workers in question in this case, Hughes was improperly cited and sanctioned.