How to Reduce Risk of Citation for Independent Contractor MSHA Violations

Mr Meardon and men in Bonmahon Mines

 (Photo credit: National Library of Ireland on The Commons)

From Harrison, Temblador, Hungerford & Johnson LLP — Bradley Johnson provides guidance on how to avoid cititations from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for violations by independent contractors.

“As a general matter, mine operators can reduce risk of liability by treating independent contractors and their employees as fully separate entities, rather than as quasi-employees – in other words, by maintaining an “arm’s-length” relationship.  This overarching rule should be implemented both through on-the-ground practices and protective contract provisions.

On-the-ground practices may include the following:

  1. To the extent possible, fence off, tape off, or otherwise separate the independent contractor’s work area. This will (a) help reduce the potential to cause or contribute to an independent contractor violation; (b) help underscore the mine operator’s lack of control over the independent contractor’s activities; and (c) help minimize the risk of exposing miners to hazards created by the independent contractor.
  2. Following on item 1 above, prohibit miners from entering the independent contractor work area. This is the best way to minimize risk of exposing miners to hazards created by the independent contractor.
  3. Limit inspections and supervision of the independent contractor’s work to evaluating progress and compliance with the work contract. Any further inspection or supervisorial role connotes greater operator control over the independent contractor.
  4. Require the independent contractor to be self-sufficient. To the extent possible, mine operators should not allow independent contractors to use operator equipment, tools, restrooms, shop facilities, services (i.e., welders), or other mine operator assets…”

Plus more recommendations to reduce risk of liability for independent contractors.

Read the full story at How to Reduce Risk of Citation for Independent Contractor MSHA Violations » Harrison

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.