BEFORE THE

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD

DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

In the Matter of the Appeal of:

MANSFIELD PLUMBING PRODUCTS

700 Fairway Drive

Walnut, CA 91789

                              Employer

 

 

Docket No.

97-R4D4-2138

 

DECISION AFTER

RECONSIDERATION

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (Board), acting pursuant to authority vested in it by the California Labor Code and having granted the petition for reconsideration filed in the above-entitled matter by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (the Division) makes the following decision after reconsideration.

JURISDICTION

On April 25, 1997, the Division, through compliance officer Gary E. Robinson, conducted an accident inspection at a place of employment maintained by Mansfield Plumbing Products (Employer) at 700 Fairway Drive, Walnut, California. On June 24, 1997, the Division issued to Employer a citation alleging a serious violation of section1 4208(g)(3) [two-handed control device], with a proposed civil penalty of $5,000.

Employer filed a timely appeal from the citation.

A hearing was held before an administrative law judge (ALJ) of the Board. Albert Cardenas, attorney, represented the Division, and William J. Wahoff, attorney, represented Employer. The ALJ issued a decision on March 15, 1999, finding that no violation of section 4208(g)(3) had been established, and granting Employer's appeal.

On April 15, 1999, the Division filed a petition for reconsideration. On May 18, 1999, Employer filed an answer. On May 28, 1999, the Board granted the Division's petition.

EVIDENCE

Division inspector Robinson testified that Employer manufactures bathtubs at its facility. Employer uses a "pierce machine" to punch overflow holes in the metal core of bathtubs. The pierce machine is hydraulically powered, and cuts the overflow hole in bathtubs by punching them with a die driven by a hydraulic ram.

The pierce machine operator controls the machine by means of a two-handed control device. The operator initiates the stroke by releasing both hand pressure points. The operator’s next task after releasing the two-handed control is to place cones on the bathtub. After the operator releases the two-handed control, he walks from the two-handed control to the bathtub that is about to be pierced by the die in order to place the cones on the bathtub. Robinson testified that he measured the distance between the two-handed control device and the point of operation to be 170 inches.

The parties stipulated that an accident resulting in the amputation of three of an operator's fingers occurred when, in the process of placing the cones, the operator slipped. He grabbed the bathtub to try to keep from falling. In doing so, he placed his hand in the piercing machine's point of operation, where the die cuts the bathtub’s overflow hole.

The Division compliance officer initially testified that the pierce machine had a die that was actuated by slides. Under cross-examination, he testified, however, that he was not sure that the machine had a slide. Employer presented an engineer whom the parties stipulated to be an expert on the kind of machine involved in this case. Employer's expert testified that the machine was not a mechanical power press, that it did not have a slide, that it had a die rather than tools, and that it did not have a crankshaft.

ISSUES

Did the evidence establish that section 4208(g)(3) applies to the pierce machine?
Did the evidence establish a violation?

FINDINGS AND REASONS
FOR
DECISION AFTER RECONSIDERATION

1. The Evidence Established that Section 4208(g)(3) Applies to the Pierce Machine.

Employer was cited under section 4208(g)(3). Section 4208(g)(3) requires that an operator of a power operated press2 whose point of operation is controlled by a two-handed control be separated from the point of operation by a greater distance than can normally be walked in the time that the machine takes to complete its stroke.

Section 4208(a) allows two-handed controls to be used as one of several alternative means to protect operators from the hazards at the point of operation. Section 4208(a)(5) provides that two-handed devices must:

Require[ing] application of both of the operator’s hands to machine operating controls and locating such controls at such a safety distance from the point of operation that the slide completes the downward travel or stops before the operator can reach into the point of operation with his hands . . .

The “safety distance” that must be provided is specified by a formula in section 4208(g)(3) as follows:

The safety distance (Ds) between the closest hand control device and the point of operation shall be greater than the distance determined by the following formula:
Ds= 63 inches/seconds × Ts; where:
Ds = minimum safety distance (inches); 63 inches/second = hand speed constant; and
Ts = stopping time of the press measured at approximately 90º position of crankshaft rotation (seconds).

In essence, section 4208(g)(3) requires that the two-handed control be 63 inches from the point of operation times the number of seconds the stroke takes to be completed after the operator presses the two-handed control.

As stated earlier, the compliance officer measured the most direct route between the two-handed control and the point of operation as 170 inches, and the time for the ram to complete its downward travel time of the press to be five seconds. The citation was issued because the distance required by the formula (63 inches x 5 seconds) was 315 inches.

Employer contends in its answer to the petition and the ALJ found that the Division failed to establish that section 4208(g)(3) applied to the pierce machine.

Employer contends that section 4208(g)(3) does not apply to hydraulic power presses. Section 4189 defines Article 55's scope of coverage to include hydraulic as well as mechanical and power presses. It provides in relevant part:

The requirements of this article apply only to those mechanically or hydraulically powered machines that shear, punch, form, or assemble metal or other material by means of tools or dies attached to slides, commonly referred to as power operated presses. . .

Sections 4192 through 4211 of article 55 apply to all mechanical power presses (punch presses). Sections 4196 through 4202(a) and 4203 through 4205 of article 55 apply to all power operated presses regardless of type. . . (Emphasis added.)

The evidence shows that Employer's pierce machine is hydraulically powered, applies a punching action to form the overflow holes, and does so by means of a die. The essential dispute is whether the die is attached to a "slide." "Slide" is not defined in the safety orders. A commonly used dictionary3 defines “slide” as “a sliding part or mechanism, as: . . . (c)(1) a moving piece (as the ram of a punch press) that is guided by a part along which it slides . . .”

The ALJ quoted the section 4188(b) definition of a ram as "[a] reciprocating part of the machine or any die piece attached to it, whichever comes closest to the stationary die. It is sometimes called plunger, slide, or mandrel.” The ALJ found that the definition of ram merely stated that some rams are slides, but did not state that every ram is always a slide. The ALJ set aside the citation based on the finding that the Division had failed to show that the ram the die was mounted on was a slide.

In Reinhold Industries, Inc., OSHAB 95-4251, DAR (Dec. 21, 2000), which issued after the ALJ’s decision in this case, we held that "slide" and "ram" are interchangeable terms in the regulations covering power presses. We further found that the hydraulic ram that powered a die mounted on it was a "slide" for purposes of Article 55. Consistent with our holding in Reinhold Industries, we find that the pierce machine’s hydraulic ram with a die mounted on it is a slide for purposes of section 4189.

The ALJ found that the Division failed to prove that section 4208(g)(3) applied to the pierce machine because the Division failed to rebut the testimony of Employer's expert. Employer's expert testified that section 4208(g)(3) could not apply to the pierce machine because section 4208(g)(3) is part of Article 55, and section 4189, which defines the scope of Article 55, excludes the pierce machine from coverage of Article 55. Employer’s expert testified that section 4189 limits application of Article 55, and therefore section 4208(g)(3), to machines that (1) are mechanical power presses, (2) operate by a die attached to a slide, and (3) whose slide is controlled by the frame of the power press. The expert testified that the pierce machine had none of these elements. For the reasons stated above, we have found that the hydraulic ram was a slide, and that it had a die mounted on it.

The Board finds that the testimony of Employer's expert fails to show that section 4208(g)(3) does not apply to the pierce machine. Section 4208(g)(3) clearly applies to hydraulic power presses because section 4215 specifically provides that hydraulic power presses are subject to section 4208.

Employer’s pierce machine is a hydraulically powered press. Prior to 1982, Article 55 applied only to mechanical power presses. In 1982, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board amended Article 55 to include hydraulic power presses. Section 4215, "Hydraulic Power Presses (Punch Presses)," was added in the 1982 amendments, and requires that hydraulic power presses be guarded and that the guarding may be provided in any of the ways stated in section 4215(b). Section 4215(b)(4) identifies two-handed controls, the kind used on the pierce machine, as a device that may be used for guarding points of operation of hydraulic power presses. Section 4215(d) provides that point of operation devices on hydraulic power presses shall conform to section 4208.

We find nothing in section 4189 or any other safety order that requires that the slide be attached to the frame of the machine, and no source of such a requirement was identified in the record. Further, the photographic evidence and video of the pierce machine shows that the slide is attached to heavy metal members that appear to be part of the frame of the machine.

Employer suggests that because section 4208(g)(3) provides that the stopping time is to be measured at an "approximately 90° position of the crankshaft rotation (seconds)," and the compliance officer failed to determine if the machine had a crankshaft, that no violation can exist. We find the reference to crankshaft is not an essential part of the application of section 4208(g)(3) to hydraulic power presses. While crankshafts are more usually associated with mechanical than with hydraulically powered equipment, the reference to crankshafts in section 4208(g)(3) may have been retained from the time when Article 55 covered only mechanical power presses. The language of section 4215 applying section 4208(g)(3) to hydraulic power presses implies that the Standards Board intended section 4208(g)(3) to be read to accommodate its application to hydraulic power presses. Section 4215 was adopted with the intention of extending the protections of Article 55, including section 4208(g)(3), to hydraulically powered presses. This intention would be defeated by Employer's interpretation, a result to be avoided.4


2. The Evidence Established a Violation of Section 4208(g)(3).

The compliance officer testified that the pierce machine had a die attached to a slide. The compliance officer's testimony that the point of operation was only 170 inches from the two handed control, and that the machine took five seconds to cycle after the two-handed control was released was unchallenged. Because the formula stated in section 4208(g)(3) requires that the distance between the two-handed control and the point of operation be 315 inches, a violation was established.

DECISION AFTER RECONSIDERATION

The ALJ's decision is reversed. Employer’s appeal is denied. A serious violation of section 4208(g)(3) is established and a civil penalty of $5,000 is assessed.

MARCY V. SAUNDERS, Member
GERALD P. O'HARA, Member

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD
FILED ON July 12, 2001


1 Unless otherwise specified, all references are to sections of Title 8, California Code of Regulations. The Board's decisions after reconsideration are abbreviated "DAR."
2 Article 55, "Power Operated Presses," of the General Industrial Safety Orders.
3 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1981), p. 2142.
4 E.L. Yeager Construction Company, Inc., OSHAB 79-1406, DAR (July 29, 1982); Select Base Materials v. Bd. of Equalization (1959) 51 Cal.2d 640, 645 and Moyer v. Workmen's Compensation Appeals Bd. (1973) 10 Cal.3d 222, 231.