A recent workers’ comp case in Texas highlights the fact that employers can be held accountable for the action or inaction of their subcontractors. The case involves a temporary roof worker who requested the use of a safety harness. The subcontractor failed to provide the worker with the harness and he subsequently fell through the roof breaking several bones and suffering multiple contusions. OSHA fined the employer $362,500 for seven safety violations, including one willful and four willful egregious violations. The subcontractor was also fined for failing to conduct regular safety inspections of the worksite. OSHA’s actions underscore the contracting employers’ liability despite its use of a subcontractor such as a staffing company, temporary agency or farm labor contractor.
If you are a company that subcontracts your farm labor, you need to ensure that:
- You have proper contracts in place,
- The subcontractor has provided evidence of proper workers’ compensation coverage and liability coverage, and
- You exercise a high degree of vigilance over subcontractors to avoid accidents and injuries.
If you would like to discuss the proper insurance needs for your particular situation, contact Greg Nelson at Western Grower Insurance Services for assistance at (949) 885-2287.
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