J. J. Keller® Compliance Network Logo
Start Experiencing Compliance Network for Free!
Update to Professional Trial!

Be Part of the Ultimate Safety & Compliance Community

Trending news, knowledge-building content, and more – all personalized to you!

Already have an account?
Thank you for investing in EnvironmentalHazmat related content. Click 'UPGRADE' to continue.
Enjoy your limited-time access to the Compliance Network Professional Trial!
A confirmation welcome email has been sent to your email address from ComplianceNetwork@t.jjkellercompliancenetwork.com. Please check your spam/junk folder if you can't find it in your inbox.
Thank you for your interest in EnvironmentalHazmat related content.
You've reached your limit of free access, if you'd like more info, please contact us at 800-327-6868.

In December 2022, a mill owner filed a complaint in a United States District Court, alleging a contractor hired to expand its facility failed to comply “with safety programs and protocols in accordance with the contract.” The owner filed a legal action seeking $130 million in relief for alleged damages.

Your client can demand you abide by the contract’s safety section by sending a written notice. A breach of contract could result in your client suing your company and lead to an OSHA inspection. Seek legal advice from a legal professional if you receive a notice from your client. This article teaches you about a Notice to Cure and an OSHA Rapid Response Investigation while providing tips for managing your safety program at your client’s jobsite.

Above and Beyond

Contractors must follow state and federal health and safety standards and are bound by the terms and conditions of contracts they enter into with their clients. The contract’s language can exceed OSHA’s safety requirements.

Identify and follow all of the safety rules. These include OSHA, state-OSHA plans, the contract, and your company’s policies. Often, one of these sources of safety rules has requirements that go above minimum protection levels.


Recently I learned that beginning in January 2023, several national general contractors require their subcontractors’ workers to wear ANSI Type II hard hats. Contractors typically provide Type I hard hats to their workers; however, they don’t provide lateral protection to the back and sides of workers’ heads.

OSHA doesn’t require all workers to wear ANSI Type II hard hats. Be prepared that your client’s safety requirements could be more stringent than OSHA’s standards. If your company doesn’t follow its contractual safety requirements, it could be in breach of the contract.

Take a partnership approach to manage safety. I’d often use this management style to develop a close relationship with the client’s safety manager, so when issues arose, we resolved them quickly without needing legal remedies.

Notice to Cure

Suppose a contractor enters into a contract with such general contractors and doesn’t comply. In that case, the general contractor could send the subcontractor a Notice to Cure — demanding compliance with the contract’s requirement. A lawsuit may ensue if the contractor doesn’t comply within the timeframe provided.

According to OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy, multiple contractors could receive a citation from OSHA for a hazardous condition that violates an OSHA standard. A Notice to Cure, and other safety-related documentation, could be used to determine if each company met its obligations under OSHA’s standards.

Rapid Response Investigation

When you file a report of severe injury (SIR), OSHA may opt to perform an offsite investigation called a Rapid Response Investigation (RRI). The RRI generally doesn’t involve an onsite inspection of the workplace. Instead, the contractor conducts its own investigation into the work-related incident and shares its findings with OSHA.

OSHA may review your contract, Notices to Cure, or any other safety documents to determine if any OSHA standards have been violated. If your client takes legal action against your company for breach of contract, it could also use OSHA’s findings to support a legal claim.

Safety professionals must be involved with your company’s estimating and bidding process. This ensures that safety requirements are identified as early as possible. During an RRI, be prepared to provide OSHA with a copy of your incident investigation report.

Key to Remember

Your client can demand you abide by the contract’s safety section. A breach of contract could result in your client suing your company and lead to an OSHA inspection and multi-employer citation. Seek legal advice from a legal professional if you receive a notice from your client.