OSHRC Docket No. 13263

Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

January 26, 1977


Before BARNAKO, Chairman; MORAN and CLEARY, Commissioners.  


Baruch A. Fellner, Counsel for Regional Litigation, Office of the Solicitor, USDOL

William S. Kloepfer, Associate, Reg. Sol., USDOL

Portia Y. T. Hamlar, Chrysler Corporation, for the employer

Bob Weissman, President, Local N. 122, U.A.W., for the employees



This case is before the Commission pursuant to a sua sponte order for review.   The parties have filed no objections to the Administrative Law Judge's decision, either by way of petitions for discretionary review or response to the order for review.   Accordingly, there has been no appeal to the Commission, and no party has otherwise expressed dissatisfaction with the Administrative Law Judge's decision.

In these circumstances, the Commission declines to pass upon, modify or change the Judge's decision in the absence of compelling public interest. Abbott-Sommer, Inc., 3 BNA OSHC 2032, 1975-76 CCH OSHD para. 20,428 (No. 9507, 1976); Crane Co., 4 BNA OSHC 1015, 1975-76 CCH OSHD para. 20,508 (No. 3336, 1976); see also Keystone Roofing Co., Inc., v. O.S.H.R.C., 539 F.2d 960, 964 (3d Cir. 1976). The order for review in this case [*2]   describes no compelling public interest issue.

The Judge's decision is accorded the significance of an unreviewed Judge's decision.   Leone Constr. Co., 3 BNA OSHC 1979, 1975-76 CCH OSHD para. 20,387 (No. 4090, 1976).

It is ORDERED that the decision be affirmed.  



MORAN, Commissioner, Concurring:

I would affirm the Judge's decision for the reasons set forth in his decision which is attached hereto as Appendix A.   For the reasons expressed in my separate opinion in Secretary v. Schultz Roof Truss, Inc., OSAHRC Docket No. 14046, Dec. 20, 1976, I disagree with the majority's view regarding the significance of decisions rendered by Review Commission Judges.



Portia Y. T. Hamler, for Petitioner

Gary M. Goldfarb and William B. Curphey, for Respondent Secretary

Bob (Sherwood) Weissman, President Local No. 122

Otto, Judge

Chrysler Corporation filed a petition May 9, 1975 directed to item 3 in a citation issued May 8, 1973, requesting modification of the abatement date from May 12, 1975 to May 12, 1977.   Secretary of Labor, respondent, objected to the granting of petitioner's request.   Local 122 UAW has elected to participate as a party.   [*3]  

No notice of contest was filed.   The violation set forth as item 3 is established; the petitioner failed to comply with the standard 29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1)&(3), failed to use feasible administrative or engineering controls to reduce the sound levels within the permissible limits in the press area.   A recorded informal conference was held in Cleveland, Ohio on July 15, 1975 with formal hearing on motion of Local 122 held October 10, 1975. n1

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n1 The parties ordered a transcript of the July 15, 1975 proceeding and waived both transcript and briefs following the October 10, 1975 hearing.

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The employer contends that a good faith effort to comply with the abatement requirements of citation item 3 has been shown and that abatement has not been completed because of factors beyond the employer's reasonable control. The Secretary in response to the petition considered a two year extension of the period for correction as unreasonable.   The union challenges the good faith alleged by the employer, contends abatement should have [*4]   been accomplished at least to a substantial degree considerably beyond the abatement claimed to date by the employer and suggests alternatives in the nature of administrative controls.   The record includes the oral presentation as recorded on July 15, 1975 and petitioner exhibits A-1 through C-2 and AA through AJ (stipulation filed September 17, 1975).

The workplace involves the press room of the Twinsburg Ohio Plant which was built in 1956, 1957 and 1958 and which is the sole producer of all Chrysler line front doors and rear underbodies. n2 The major press lines were new with later additions of smaller presses from other locations (T2-40, 42).   Some of the involved work areas expose 37.6% of the plant population to 90 to 95 decibels, 43.2% to 96 to 104 decibels and the balance of plant population were not exposed to noise levels above 90.   (T1-19).   The record details the employer's efforts to accomplish abatement through engineering controls.   Some reduction has been accomplished but to a limited extent and without approaching permissible levels (T1-29, exhibit R).   Engineering efforts have included putting polyurethane wheels on dollies, enclosing a rest area with acoustical   [*5]   paneling, incorporating vibration pads to press mountings with similar material used to isolate welders and hydraulic units, insulation between metal to metal mountings, installation of impacting and absorbing material, etc. (T1-20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27).   Enclosure of press lines has not appeared feasible (T1-81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87; T2-30, 31, 32).

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n2 Transcript 2-pages 40, 124 (T2-40, 124).

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The union considers a lack of good faith has been demonstrated by the fact that the citation was issued May 8, 1973 and the employer has constructed only one instead of seven rest areas (T1-46).   There was considerable testimony on the quality and quantity of audiometric hearing tests, which do not relate directly to the question of abatement and are not productive of reduction of excessive noise nor the exposure thereto.   Rest areas may become related to administrative controls if the use thereof by employees may be coordinated with the requirements of the cited standard, which does not appear feasible to date.

The union does [*6]   not suggest engineering controls beyond those attempted by the employer, but proposes a total of 15 minutes per hour relief for each exposed employee.   The cited standard does not require the employer to supply an administrative control beyond the "duration per day, hours" requirements of Table G-16.

Respondent Secretary on October 10, 1975 was willing to grant an 18 month extension (T2-27, 28).   The union objects to such proposed extension.

The decisional content herein has been more illustrative than exhaustive, as far as the record is concerned, but is evidence of good faith by the employer in actively pursuing abatement of the violation.   The abative attempts have been experimental to a great extent but have not been casual and have been continuing.

It is the finding of the undersigned Judge that Chrysler Corporation, petitioner, has shown a good faith effort to abate the violation set forth as item 3 in the citation issued May 8, 1973 for the Twinsburg Ohio plant, that abatement has not been completed because of factors beyond the employer's reasonable control, that the possibility of utilization of administrative or engineering controls has not been exhausted.

It is therefore [*7]   Ordered that the abatement requirements set forth for item 3 in the citation issued May 8, 1973 be and the same are modified and extended from May 12, 1975 to November 12, 1976.

George W. Otto, Judge, OSAHRC

Dated: December 29, 1975