DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, November 07, 2011

New OSHA Case Blurs Lines Between Employees And Supervisors During Inspections

The following comes from an article published by the Horton Group.

This article concerns a fatal accident involving an outside contractor's (M. C. Dean) employee, a journeyman electrician, who fell through a skylight. 

The article states that an OSHA citation can only be upheld if the company knew about the hazardous condition resulting in the accident.  By definition, if a company supervisor or manager was aware of the hazard, then the company is deemed to be aware of the hazard.  The question that came up in this instance was whether or not the company was aware of the hazard.  For purposes of this citation OSHA defined the lead journeyman electrician (an hourly employee) as being a supervisor, and thus the company was aware of the hazard.

The article reported:

"Perhaps the most vexing part of the Dean case for employers is the Judge’s acknowledgement that the ultimate determination that the “lead” journeyman electrician was a supervisor was inconsistent with OSHA’s own behavior during its inspection. During the inspection, OSHA interviewed the “lead” journeyman electrician outside of the presence of Dean’s legal counsel and in fact denied Dean’s counsel the right to be present at the employee interview. Under existing case authority, the employer has a right to be present for interviews of management representatives. Dean further argued at trial that if OSHA had believed the “lead” journeyman to be a member of management during its inspection, Dean’s legal counsel would have had the right to be present during his interview. The Judge did not address this argument in her findings."

Click here to read the complete article.

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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