Summary of Plantel Nurseries – Decision after reconsideration

Employer was cited for a serious violation of section 3441(b) [no operator on self-propelled tractor] after inspectors observed a riderless tractor in an agricultural field during a harvesting operation. Employer challenged the ALJ's finding that the violation was serious and that employer failed to establish that it could not with the exercise of reasonable diligence, have known of the violation. Upon considering the disputed evidence, the board agreed with the ALJ's finding that the tractor was riderless for a long enough period of time such that employer could have known of the violation. The board rejected consideration of the acts of the employee asserted by employer as a basis for reducing the penalty as well as further considering employer's good faith which is already an adjustment factor which can be rated by the division and applied to the circumstances. The board affirmed the serious violation; however found that the penalty was incorrectly calculated since the division did not present any evidence to support its determination of the penalty. It was appropriate to recalculate the penalty giving employer the maximum credits and adjustments provided under the penalty-setting regulations, thus, reducing the penalty from $5,400 to $900.

Plantel Nurseries, 01- 2346 (Word)
Plantel Nurseries, 01- 2346 (Adobe Acrobat)

January 8, 2004