Mass. Companies Were Single Employer at Dangerous Worksite, OSHA Judge Rules

Two Massachusetts contractors are a single employer responsible for their employees’ safety, an administrative law judge at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ruled.

The ALJ issued the ruling against A.C. Castle Construction Co. Inc. and Daryl Provencher, doing business as Provencher Home Improvements – were operating as a single employer.

Three employers were injured at a worksite in Wenham, Mass., operated by the companies in October 2014.  A.C. Castle contended that, as general contractor, it was not responsible for the safety of the workers on the jobsite, asserting that they were employed by Provencher.

But the ALJ, Sharon Calhoun found differently. Factors she cited for her ruling were:

  • A.C. Castle’s checking to ensure that workers were tied off,
  • its responsibility for safety on its worksites;
  • its ability to fire or discipline workers;
  • its directions to Provencher concerning the size of the crew;
  • the presence of A.C. Castle signs and the lack of Provencher signage at worksites, and
  • A.C. Castle’s representing that it had no subcontractors when applying for building permits.

Judge Calhoun’s decision upheld the bulk of the citations and determined that A.C. Castle is responsible for paying $173,500 in penalties. The claims against Provencher were extinguished due to his death in December 2016.

Read more about the ruling here.

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