OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
Summary of Chicken of the Sea International Decision After Reconsideration
Employer uses a machine that has a conveyor belt. A mechanic who was making
repairs to the machine suffered amputation of three fingers when the machines
conveyor belt broke. Employer was cited for failure to lock out the machine
during repair operations in serious violation of section 3314(b). It was undisputed
that the machine was not locked out at the time of the injury, nor that it should
have been locked out. Employers primary contention was that the independent
employee act defense [IEAD] should apply. Four employees present at the incident
had lock out training and lock out locks with individualized keys.
The parties stipulated that (a)t the time of the accident and before, Employer had safety policies and procedures, which it actively enforced against employees who did not follow the safety procedures. The Board found that the stipulated facts alone when supplemented by the hearing record did not establish element 3 of the IEAD because having an active program did not demonstrate required effective enforcement. Employer did not provide sufficient evidence to establish the third element because none of the four experienced and knowledgeable employees followed Employers safety rule, as would be expected if Employer effectively enforced its program, and because other evidence in the record raises questions which, if unrebutted or unaddressed by Employers evidence, suggest that its lockout program (a significant component of its overall safety program) was not effectively enforced.
Employer was also cited for a general violation of section 3314(f) for failure to have specific written lock out procedures for this machine. The Division requested a copy of the written lockout program for the machine and received a general outline consisting of training overheads and instructors notes which did not refer specifically to any machines or contain any specific lockout procedures. The citation for a general violation of section 3314(f) was upheld.
THE SEA INTERNATIONAL, 01-281
February 28, 2003