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Section: 56.12018
Date: 05/21/2015
District:
Negligence: Moderate
Injury or Illness: Unlikely
Injury or illness could be expected to be: Lost Workdays or Restricted Only
Significant and Substantial: No

Condition or Practice: The breakers were not labeled in the panel located in the gravel plant control
room. Employees working around this area were exposed to the possibility of
injury by not being able to identify which switch to lock out to work on
equipment or circuits, or deactivate in case of an emergency. This area is
powered by a generator and has only 6 switches, making the chance of an
accident unlikely. The mine operator believed all of the breakers had been
labeled.

Action to Terminate: The mine operator had the breakers labeled to identify what they
controlled.

Why this concerns you: Be further advised that with respect to citation 8841973 again I would like the
opportunity to explain while this is a similar situation. This plant has not been
inspected or even visited by our staff until very recently since last fall's shut down.
The plant supervisor just returned to work last week, with the frigid temperatures
we often have to relabel this in the spring and that would have happened after a preseason
inspection.



Abatement Suggestions From Industry


Without seeing the box itself, I can only armchair some advice. In Lake 2013-616, the ALJ vacated a .12018 citation because while the individual breakers weren't labeled, the incoming "main" breaker WAS labeled, and that was deemed to be the "Principal power switch".

So, perhaps, a defense could be made by arguing that item X was NOT the principle power switch, and thus, does not fall under the standard.

"There is no question that the breakers controlling power to the outdoor outlets were not labeled. Crum’s testimony to this effect (Tr. 302) was not challenged by the company. Indeed, Russell agreed with Crum. Tr. 307. The fundamental question is whether the unlabeled switches were “[p]rincipal power switches” within the meaning of section 56.12018. As the court noted infra the word “principal” connotes a chief or leading power switch. Here, the unlabeled breakers were the leading switches to turn power on and off to the outlets. Tr. 311. However, like the breaker box in Citation No. 8741689 (Gov’t Exh. 8 (LAKE 2014-616-M)) the cited breaker box was a single unit and the unit’s chief or leading switch was its main switch, a switch everyone agrees was labeled. The court cannot logically distinguish the breaker box cited in Citation No. 8741689, a box the inspector agreed did not violate section 56.12018, from the subject breaker box. Both boxes had a chief or leading main switch that was labeled. Yet in one instance (Citation No. 8741689) the inspector found the box came within the standard (Tr. 156) while in the subject instance he found the box did not. Tr. 311. The agency cannot have it both ways. Its position with regard to the subject box would require all breakers in a breaker box to be labeled, something the standard decidedly does not mandate. In the court’s opinion both boxes were units whose principal power switches were labeled. Therefore, the court will vacate Citation No. 8741717 at the close of this decision."
- posted on 07/01/2015


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