Image: Princeton University Logo
EHS Banner collage (safety manual, men wearing hardhats) EHS Banner collage (radiation symbol, two scientists) EHS Banner collage (biohazard symbol, geiger counter)
Home | Workplace Safety | Laboratory Safety | Radiation Safety | Biological Safety | Emergencies
Health and Safety Guide




    Construction and renovation activities at the University can be performed by either outside contractors or University workers. The work may be done exclusively by one group or the other, or a project may be a collaborative effort. Because of these differing arrangements, it often is unclear who is responsible for a given situation, or who has the authority to ensure that safety and health regulations are followed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has addressed this problem by developing rules for multi-employer worksites and defining the responsibility of each employer.

    Most of OSHA's regulations for construction work can be found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), Part 1926, entitled "Safety and Health Regulations for Construction." However, there are several instances where a particular job or activity may not be addressed by these regulations. In those cases, the regulations for General Industry, found in Part 1910, may apply. If there are no regulations in either Part for a given activity, then OSHA's "General Duty Clause", which states that an employer must provide a workplace free of recognized hazards, would still be applicable.

Return to Top


Scope and Application

    OSHA defines construction as "work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating." Examples of activities that could be classified as construction include building renovations, excavation and trenching operations, painting, masonry, and certain activities associated with building systems such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical supply.

Return to Top


Program Description

    Multi-Employer Worksites and OSHA

    OSHA has determined that employers at a multi-employer worksite fall into four basic categories--controlling, creating, correcting, or exposing. The controlling employer is the employer who, by contract or actual practice, has the responsibility and authority for ensuring that hazardous work conditions are corrected. This employer is usually the General Contractor, or GC. When the University acts as the General Contractor for a construction project, it would be considered the controlling employer and would be responsible for the safety and health of all workers at the site. The creating employer would be the employer whose activities actually create a hazardous condition, while the correcting employer would be the employer that has the responsibility for correcting the hazardous condition. An exposing employer is any employer whose workers are exposed to the hazardous condition. Depending upon the situation, any employer at a construction site could fall into one or more of these classifications and could be issued a citation by OSHA.

    Departments should consider the multi-employer worksite rule whenever their workers are working at a University construction site, or whenever they are acting as the project manager for such an activity. In those situations where the University acts as the General Contractor, the burden for providing a safe worksite rests with the project manager and every University supervisor involved with the project. However, even on those projects where an outside contractor is acting as the General Contractor, Departments are still responsible for their own workers' safety. Any hazardous condition should be brought to the attention of the General Contractor immediately, through the project manager, along with a request for its correction. If the condition is so hazardous as to be imminently dangerous, Departments should remove their workers from the worksite and contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) immediately.

Return to Top


Roles and Responsibilities


    • When acting as General Contractor, ensure safe work conditions at worksite.
    • At other times, report unsafe work conditions to General Contractor.
    • Report imminently dangerous conditions to EHS immediately.


    • Ensure workers report unsafe work conditions promptly.
    • Ensure unsafe work conditions are reported to Project Manager.
    • Remove workers from worksite if imminently dangerous condition exist.

    Project Managers

    • Monitor safety of site work conditions.
    • Report unsafe conditions to General Contractor.
    • Follow-up with General Contractor to ensure unsafe conditions are addressed.


    • Provide assistance to Departments, Supervisors, and Project Managers.
    • Working with the Project Managers, ensure imminently dangerous conditions are addressed.


    • Report unsafe conditions to Supervisor.

Return to Top


For More Information

Return to Top

Return to Health and Safety Guide Table of Contents



For a disclaimer and information regarding the use of this page, see the disclaimer notice.
Web page comments:

Link: EHS Homepage Princeton University Home Page