Earlier this week, a general contractor’s responsibility for the safety of the entire jobsite was reaffirmed by the Appellate Division in a case involving a subcontractor’s injured employee. Relying on, Alloway v. Bradlees, Inc., the Court noted that:
A general contractor has an even more comprehensive duty than the property owner to ensure the safety of the employees of any subcontractors working at a construction site. This duty is based on the public policy considerations embodied in the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and New Jersey's Construction Safety Act: It was obviously the legislative intention to ensure the protection of all of the workers on a construction project, irrespective of the identity or status of their various and several employers, by requiring, either by agreement or by operation of law, the designation of a single repository for the safety of them all. That "single repository" is the general contractor.
Here, although the trial court had dismissed the general contractor from the case on the basis that OSHA itself didn’t issue any violations, the Appellate Division overturned the decision, noting that OSHA compliance was only one factor and that general negligence principles govern the determination of whether a legal duty should be imposed on a contractor for injuries sustained by another contractor's employee. (Arias v. Cardinal Estates LLC, et. al.)
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Peter J. Vazquez, Jr.