Summary of Santa Fe Aggregates, Inc. - Decision After Reconsideration

A fixed ladder was installed at a tunnel entrance to meet a federal requirement. The step-across distance from the bottom of the ladder to the tunnel entrance landing was 14 inches, 2 more than the 12 inches allowed by section 3277(f)(6) under which Employer was cited. The tunnel was the only means of reaching the employee work area. The tunnel entrance could be reached by descending the ladder or walking up a dirt slope in front of the entrance. The inspector didn't see any employees use the ladder. Circumstantial evidence consisting of Employer's reason for installing the ladder, signs of wearing on rails and steps, work vehicles parked near the top end of the ladder and wires leading down from there into the tunnel, were sufficient to prove a prima facie case of employee exposure. Employer presented no evidence to refute anything though it had an opportunity to explain or deny the violations so an Evidence Code section 413 inference may be drawn against the Employer. A general violation of section 7040 was upheld.

Santa Fe Aggregates, Inc. 00-388
November 13, 2001