EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

APPEALS BOARD

Summary of Sonoma Grapevines - DAR

At a Prehearing Conference by phone Employer was asked to explain its defenses and, inter alia, stated that it thought the Division was alleging a violation of a safety order that did not apply. Thereafter, the Division's motion to amend the citation to allege a violation of a different safety order was granted. Employer contends that allowing the Division to capitalize on information it had to disclose at the prehearing conference violated its due process. Employer’s due process rights were not violated. Due process protects the right to be informed of the charges and to be heard; it does not prevent pre-hearing discovery. A serious violation of section 4186(b) was alleged because Employer failed to guard the point of operation on a grafting saw. The saw presented a cutting hazard similar to mortising and tenoning machines, which are specifically covered in Group 8 of the General Industry Safety Orders. Thus, it was a section 4184(b) "similar hazard" machine subject to section 4186(b) guarding requirements. The saw's point of operation opening was bigger than allowed by section 4186(b). A violation was established. The violation was serious because accidental contact with an energized saw blade is substantially probable to result in serious physical harm or death and Employer knew the size of the point of operation opening.

SONOMA GRAPEVINES, INC. 99-875
September 27, 2001