Interstate Brands Corp.; 00-1077; 04/24/03

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An employee injury occurred when the LOTO procedure was not followed and the pump the employee was cleaning was re-energized without his knowledge. As a result, the machine guarding citation was vacated and the employer was not required to sustain the significant cost of guarding its pumps, nation-wide. Secretary of Labor v. Commission extended the attorney-client privilege to a draft report concerning PSM compliance by a third-party expert.

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Moreover, IBC successfully asserted the employee misconduct defense by a supervisor, and all citations were vacated. American Petroleum Institute v. Secretary of Labor , Docket No. April 11, At the close of the litigation, OSHA withdrew both interpretation letters. Chemcentral Corp.

Ben Robinson v. Texas Workers Compensation Commission , S. Lead counsel in a challenge to a state safety program which was declared unconstitutional. Section 18 c of the OSH Act preempted the state program. In re Terra International, Inc. Woodbury Cty.

Co-counsel in a day televised hearing in a successful challenge to an OSHA inspection warrant. Following the trial, the administrative law judge accepted the affirmative defense of reasonable alternative measures to compliance with a standard and vacated the failure to guard citations. District of Columbia Bar Maryland Bar. Georgetown University. Perspectives Alerts.

He then stopped giving reasons for his refusal to withdraw the citation. He flatly declared that he would refuse to settle the other citation items unless I accepted this one. So we had a choice. Either accept this unjust citation and settle the other items, or litigate. My lawyer told me that 1 had a very good chance of winning.

He also told me what it would cost to litigate. I am a small businessman, and everyone involved, including this OSHA official, knew that I could not afford to litigate. He knew that he had me over a barrel.

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I had to give in. So he forced me to confess to a wrong that I did not commit. I do not want this to happen again to anybody. I believe that two provisions of this bill would have made a difference in my case. Section 7 would have made a big difference, for it would have meant that the OSHA official would not be ignorant of the legal principle we had relied upon.

If OSHA cannot ignore Review Commission decisions anymore, it would be forced to 12 educate its officials about Commission decisions, and would require that they be followed. Please adopt Section 7 soon. Section 6 would have also have been a help to me, for it would have forced OSHA to pay my fees if I won. I am small enough to qualify under this provision.

James F. Laboe

If this provision were in place, I may well have defended myself against this unjust citation, for the threat of paying my lawyer's fees would have given OSHA a strong reason to not prosecute. Please pass this provision as well. And I thank you for hearing me out. Thank you very much, Mr. Molovich, you are now recognized, sir. Good afternoon. I also was a safety and health instructor at the training institute in Des Plaines, Illinois. And I also headed up the Indiana State program from August of through The lives of millions of workers are literally at stake, which makes the issue of concern today a life-and-death matter.

President Bush, in a Republican-led th Congress, oversaw one of the most shameful acts against American workers in decades, the congressional repeal of the ergonomic standard that President Clinton promulgated in In fact, signing the repeal of the ergonomic standard was 13 one of George W. Bush's first actions in office. In talking about the specifics of the bill.

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Section 3 talks about willful violation. The United Steelworkers of America has experience dealing with rogue employers. One recent example was a pipe manufacturer, McWane, Incorporated, with its headquarters located in Alabama and a number of production facilities located in several states and Canada.

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I personally toured the McWane facility in Tyler, Texas, very soon after the first newspaper article in January I firmly believe that if OSHA was restricted or prohibited from issuing a willful citation in this case, the final outcome may have been significantly different, or taken much longer to achieve. Most, if not all, of the factors proposed in this bill are taken into account currently by OSHA and the Commission. The employer is the sole responsible party for occupational safety and health in a plant. Section 5, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission: This Review Commission has worked well over the last 30 years with just three commissioners, and does not need two more. If the Subcommittee wants to spend the significant amount of money involved, you should put it into the OSHA enforcement budget. Section 6, Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs: The union believes that the provisions of the current Equal Access to Justice Act provide employers sufficient protection.

In addition, the union believes OSHA should have the same equal protection. The union believes this provision would take away the authority held by the Secretary to bring cases to the Court of Appeals in the United States 14 Supreme Court. In closing, the union strongly opposes H. The Congress could change the Act by strengthening the whistle-blower protection for employees that are discriminated against for safety activity.

This would be under Section 1 1 c of the Act. The Congress should also significantly increase the criminal sanctions against Section 17 e. Their current penalties are insulting to victims and their families. The penalties for such behavior should be raised to at least 1 0 years in prison, as has been proposed by Senator John Corzine. I made a statement before to a group.

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There are approximately 6, people killed every year in the United States in occupations. There are about passengers on a That equals 25 's crashing every year. If that were to occur, there would be such an outcry, such an outrage in this country. Yet and still, we're killing 6, people and not thinking strongly about strengthening the OSHA Act. Additionally, OSHA could be given the authority to order immediate correction of extremely dangerous hazards.

Currently, they don't have that authority. They have to go to the courts to get that authority. The agency also could be directed by Congress and the Administration to promulgate a new ergonomic standard. Ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses remain the largest single source of injury across all American industry. I would like to thank you, Chairman Norwood, and Ranking Member Owens, and the entire Subcommittee for affording me the opportunity to participate and testify at this hearing, and I'm happy to answer any questions at the appropriate time. I thank the gentleman.

Sapper, you arc now recognized. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. My name is Arthur Sapper. I'm testifying today on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.