BEFORE THE

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD

DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

In the Matter of the Appeal of:

TUTOR-SALIBA-PERINI

1520 North Vermont Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90027

                              Employer

 

 

Docket No.

97-R5D2-2799

 

  DECISION AFTER

RECONSIDERATION


Before the Appeals Board is a decision dated September 8, 1998, by an administrative law judge (ALJ) of the Board, finding a violation of the occupational safety and health standards and orders found in Title 8, California Code of Regulations.1

On October 5, 1998, Tutor-Saliba-Perini (Employer) filed a petition for reconsideration. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (the Division) filed an answer on October 28, 1998. The Board granted Employer’s petition for reconsideration on November 18, 1998.

BACKGROUND

Employer was excavating an underground Metro Rail station at Sunset Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. The excavation eventually reached a depth of approximately 70 feet. To provide employee access during the process of construction, Employer installed two stair towers. A stair tower is a multi-story scaffold-like structure supporting flights of stairs that allow employees ingress and egress to and from the excavation. The stair towers used by Employer were prefabricated in one-floor sections. The rigid framework of each section consisted of tubular metal frames and angle irons. The tubular frame of each section fit over and was designed to rest on the tubular frame of the section below it. The tubular frames were locked together by pins.

The legs of the bottom section of the stair towers did not rest directly on any support as required by section 1637(n)(2)(B). Employer suspended these assembled stair towers by welding them to braces at the top of the excavation. The ALJ found that the Division correctly cited Employer under section 1637(n)(2)(B) because that section requires that the weight of prefabricated stairways be supported from below by footings resting on some solid, secure base.

Except to the extent discussed here, Employer’s contentions on reconsideration were considered and fully addressed in the attached ALJ decision. The Board has adopted that decision.

FINDINGS AND REASONS
FOR
DECISION AFTER RECONSIDERATION

Employer for the first time on reconsideration raised the contention that its stair towers are suspended scaffolds subject to section 1658 rather than to section 1637(n)(2)(B). As the ALJ found, the cited structures are prefabricated stairways specifically subject to section 1637(n)(2)(B). Section 1637(n)(2)(B) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard 10.8-1977 specifically govern prefabricated stairways. Section 1658 makes no reference to stairways or stair towers. The Board therefore rejects Employer’s contention.

Employer’s petition also contends that the ALJ failed to understand the “constructability” problems that the stair tower would present if supported in accordance with section 1637(b)(2)(B). Employer contends that keeping the bottom of the stair towers in contact with the ground at the bottom of the excavation would have interfered with the excavation process because the ground under the stair towers had to be excavated frequently as the excavation became deeper.

Employer’s contention that the requirements in section 1637(n)(2)(B) make use of stair towers impracticable must be addressed to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board in a request for an amendment to the safety order or a request for a variance. The Appeals Board has no authority to amend the safety orders or to grant variances from them.2

The ALJ fully considered the contentions raised by Employer in its petition. The Appeals Board has considered the decision of the ALJ and the record in light of Employer’s petition for reconsideration and affirms the ALJ’s summary of evidence, rulings, findings,3 and conclusions and adopts the decision in its entirety. Accordingly, the ALJ’s decision is attached and incorporated by reference.

DECISION AFTER RECONSIDERATION

The decision of the ALJ dated September 8, 1998, is reinstated and affirmed.

BILL DUPLISSEA, Member
MARCY V. SAUNDERS, Member

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH APPEALS BOARD
SIGNED AND DATED AT SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - March 2, 2001

1 Unless otherwise specified, all section references are to Title 8, California Code of Regulations.
2 Kenneth L. Poole, Inc., OSHAB 90-278, DAR (Apr. 18, 1991).
3 Employer contends that the evidence shows that the extent of the exposure was less than 100 percent of its employees because other means of access to the excavation existed. However, Employer concedes that all stair towers on this job were the same as those described by the ALJ. The Board finds Employer has not shown a sufficient basis to reverse the ALJ’s findings on extent.