Administrative law judge upholds OSHA citation issued to Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Logistics Services
Affirms musculoskeletal disorder should be recorded on OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Log
PEORIA, Ill. — An administrative law judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Denver, Colo., has affirmed an other-than-serious safety citation issued to Peoria-based Caterpillar Logistics Services by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in June 2009. The company was cited for failing to record a worker's musculoskeletal disorder on the company's OSHA 300 log and assessed a proposed penalty of $900.
"Musculoskeletal disorders are very prevalent and are significant workplace injuries and illnesses," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels, who praised the decision. "It is imperative that these types of work-related illnesses are logged appropriately so workers and managers are made aware of them as well as their causes, and so that we can all learn how to better protect workers. By working together, OSHA, along with business leaders, union representatives and workers, can improve conditions and processes to prevent injuries and illnesses for all our nation's workers."
The citation was issued after an OSHA investigation determined that the company had failed to record a work-related musculoskeletal illness, epicondylitis, on the company's OSHA 300 log. Caterpillar contended that the employee's epicondylitis was not work-related.
Administrative Law Judge Patrick Augustine noted that, in order to be recordable, "an employee's work activities do not have to be the cause, but rather a cause of injury or illness," and determined that the preponderance of evidence showed the employee's work activities were at least a contributing, if not the sole, cause of the employee's epicondylitis.
OSHRC is an independent federal agency created to decide contests of citations and/or penalties resulting from inspections of American workplaces by OSHA. An employer that is cited by OSHA for an alleged workplace health or safety violation can contest a citation and have the case heard by a commission administrative law judge, who ultimately issues a decision. The decision can then be appealed to the commission, whose members are presidential appointees. This decision is the first to address whether a musculoskeletal disorder is work-related under an OSHA record-keeping standard revised in 2001.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Peoria Area Office at 309-589-7033. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.