A Washington State Supreme Court consolidated decision covering safety violations with two temporary agencies provides some insight into how courts determine who is a controlling employer. Tradesmen International contracted with Dochnahl Construction. The agency was responsible for wages and benefits, while Dochnahl was in charge of supervision. Before an assignment, Tradesmen inspected the site for safety hazards, but none were found. Dochnahl reassigned an employee to another jobsite and failed to notify the agency. Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) inspected the site, found hazards and cited the agency for exposure to scaffold hazards and a lack of fall protection. Laborworks Industrial Staffing provided workers for Strategic Materials to sort recycling and waste, including glass and needles. L&I inspected the plant and found employees were exposed to bloodborne pathogen hazards but hadn’t received the training from Laborworks. Both agencies fought the citations, and appeals courts vacated both saying the agencies lacked control.

L&I Appeals

The state Supreme Court upheld the Tradesmen decision vacating the violation since that agency did not control the worksite. But the Laborworks citations stuck since that agency maintained control over specific aspects of its employees training and records.

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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