Page 56 - MetalForming May 2016
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  You and The Law
By Douglas B.M. Ehlke
Court of Appeals Agrees: OSHA Over- Reached in Penalties Against Metal Spinner
Loren Cook Co., Springfield, MO, manufactures air-cir- culating equipment such as fans and blowers. The company’s fan components require small and large manual metal-spinning machines with mandrels to achieve complex design specifications and shapes on many of their products. Over the years, Loren Cook’s highly skilled and trained employees performed these spinning operations with an unsurpassed safety record, assisted by redundant
Doug Ehlke, a national board-certified civil trial lawyer, has for more than 30 years represented met- alforming companies in OSHA litigation and in labor- union elections. His law practice emphasizes labor law, personal injury, product liability, probate, estate planning and environmental and employment discrimination law.
Ehlke Law Offices
28840 11th Avenue South
Federal Way, WA 98003-3705
tel. 253/839-5555
fax. 253/874-5475
safeguards on the spinning machines. Long tools, to 5 ft. in length, were employed for locked-in-place blanks or parts to be manually spun, placing operators safely away from the point of operation and any rotating machine components. In 2004, an OSHA inspector observed the guarding on Loren Cook’s seven small manual spinning machines and found them in compliance with OSHA’s principal “General Guard- ing” standard, 1910.212.
On May 13, 2009, an experienced employee operating one of Cook’s small manual spinning machines was killed when struck by a 12-lb. metal blank not locked in place, which rattled and unexpectedly ejected. A radio and earpiece hidden from the view of coworkers and contrary to a long- time plant safety rule prohibiting production-floor use of employee radios, was found at the scene after the accident. In addition, a workpiece-holding redundant safety-lock con- trol was found in the unlocked position.
After a 20-day trial, Administrative Law Judge Ken Welsch vacated all PPE and machine-guarding citations and OSHA’s
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