Summary of The Herrick Corporation - Decision After Reconsideration

A steel column temporarily supporting a canopy at San Francisco International Airport fell over. The Division cited Employer under section 3328(a) on the theory that a weld between the canopy and the top of a column had been cut and that without the weld the column was "equipment…used…under conditions of…stresses…which endangers employees." The Board finds that the column was "equipment" and that slippage between the beam it supported and the top of the column and heavy traffic vibration in the area caused employee endangering stresses on the column. The Division was allowed to cite section 3328(a) of the General Industry Safety Orders instead of section 1709 of the Construction Safety Orders. They are not inconsistent. Employer did not prove compliance with section 1709--no loading in excess of designed capacity-- and section 1709 pertains only to overloading, not the stresses involved in this case, which are addressed by section 3328(a). The violation was serious. The toppling of a 5-ton column is likely to result in serious physical harm or death. The weld was cut prematurely. Employer could have known of the violation by exercising reasonable diligence.

The Herrick Corporation, 99-786
December 18, 2001