Fuel Smarts

We Need Proof, Not Possibilities, says Calif. OSHA Board

May 08, 2001

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A California OSHA Appeals Board has dismissed a citation it said was based on speculation and assumptions.

While responding to an unrelated complaint against ABF Freight System’s California terminal, a state inspector noticed that there was no approved eye/face wash equipment in an area where workers were loading packages containing hazardous materials. State regulations require the equipment in all work areas where, during routine operations or foreseeable emergencies, the eyes of an employee may come in contact with a hazardous substance. ABF challenged the subsequent citation and the $5,060 fine.
In its decision, the Appeals Board noted that state regulators had failed to show that there had been eye exposure to a hazard or that exposure was likely. The mere fact that workers handled the packages substances is not enough to establish a violation, it said.
The decision also noted that state regulators had ignored information provided by ABF regarding hazmat training and the company’s spill response program. It sided with ABF’s contention that the eye/face wash equipment requirement applies to “foreseeable” emergencies, not “conceivable” emergencies.

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