OSHA’s Multi-employer Worksite Doctrine Now Effective in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi

In an opinion from November 26, 2018 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi) overturned one of its opinions from 1981 and now joins the remainder of the circuits in allowing OSHA to enforce its multi-employer worksite doctrine. The 1981 decision was overturned due to the Fifth Circuit’s interpretation of the Chevron Doctrine, which provides much leeway for federal agencies to interpret their statutory mandates. Previously, the Fifth Circuit only permitted OSHA to cite employers’ own employees, contrary to the multi-employer worksite doctrine, which allows OSHA to cite employers who are “controlling,” “exposing,” “creating,” or “correcting” safety hazards. OSHA’s doctrine, which deems general contractors to be responsible for its subcontractors’ employees as well, is now enforceable throughout the nation.


Acosta v. Hensel Phelps Const. Co, No. 17-60543, (5th Cir. Nov. 26, 2018)