Safety and OSHA News

Trial to determine how far OSHA can go with enterprise-wide orders

The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) will hear a case that will determine the extent to which OSHA and the Commission can order a company to abate hazards at all of its locations. Forklifts are the issue in this case.

First, some background in this case.

OSHA Cited Central Transport LLC in November 2014 for 14 violations at the freight hauler’s Billerica, MA, shipping terminal with a total of $330,800 in fines.

At issue was the use of allegedly defective forklifts which weren’t removed from service as directed by OSHA standard 1910.178(p)(1). OSHA ordered abatement of these hazards.

Central Transport appealed the violations to OSHRC. In a complaint to the Commission, OSHA requested an order compelling the company to comply with the forklift standard at all of its locations – enterprise-wide abatement.

Central Transport then filed a motion asking OSHRC to dismiss the order for enterprise-wide abatement.

An OSHRC administrative law judge recently denied Central Transport’s request and ordered the issue of whether OSHA and the Commission can issue this type of enterprise-wide abatement order to go to trial.

Michael Felsen, the regional solicitor of labor for New England said the ALJ’s order is significant and precedent-setting. “This is the first decision by an OSHA Administrative Law Judge expressly finding that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission may have the authority under the OSH Act to order abatement measures beyond the specific violations identified in the citations,” Felsen said.

OSHA says that at the Billerica terminal, it found five damaged and unsafe forklifts with a variety of defects including non-functioning horns and lights, a damaged tire, and a battery that leaked corrosive acid. OSHA says Central Transport failed to take the five forklifts out of service.

Inspectors say since 2006, Central Transport has received 11 final order citations of the same forklift standard, including eight classified as repeat.

OSHA also recently issued two willful citations to Central Transport for violations of the same forklift regulation at terminals in Rock Island, IL, and Hillside, IL. The company failed to remove six defective and unsafe forklifts at Rock Island and three forklifts in similar shape at Hillside, according to OSHA.

Central Transport operates more than 170 similar terminals across the U.S.

(Secretary of Labor v. Central Transport LLC, OSHRC Docket Nos. 14-1452, 14-1612, 14-1934, 12/7/15)

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  1. […] Safety News Alert reported that the question of whether OSHA can order enterprise-wide abatement or not is a question that is going to head to trial. If it is determined OSHA has this power, this will mean OSHA no longer has to inspect every location in order to require an employer to make fixes at a particular branch of its company. Instead, OSHA will be able to mandate that the companies make fixes at all locations even if an inspection has been conducted and violations observed only at one branch of the company’s headquarters. […]

  2. […] new decision which Safety News Alert indicates will be made by a trial court relates to the ability of OSHA to issue an enterprise-wide […]

  3. […] case on enterprise-wide abatement centers around OSHA’s inspection of Central Transport LLC. Safety News Alert reports OSHA inspected a particular shipping terminal of the company and found 14 violations. OSHA […]

  4. […] in which the extent of OSHA’s powers to order abatement will be determined. According to Safety News Alert, the case hinges on whether it is permissible for OSHA to order enterprise-wide […]

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