According to § 287.040 R.S.Mo, any person who has work done under contract on or about the premises which is an operation of the usual business shall be deemed an employer and shall be liable to such contractor, subcontractors, and their employees, when injured or killed on or about the premises of the employer while doing work which is in the usual course of business. These provisions shall not apply to the owner of premises upon which improvements are being erected, demolished, altered or repaired by an independent contractor. However, such independent contractor shall be deemed to be the employer of the employees of subcontractors and their subcontractors when employed on or about the premises where the principal contractor is doing work.
In all cases, the immediate contractor or subcontractor shall be liable as an employer of the employees of subcontractors. All liable persons may be made parties to the proceedings on the application of any party. The liability of the immediate employer shall be primary, and that of the others secondary in their order. Any compensation paid by those secondarily liable may be recovered from those primarily liable, with attorney’s fees and expenses of the suit. No such employer shall be liable, if the employee was insured by his immediate or any intermediate employer.