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Judges tosses OSHA eyewash citation
No evidence of hazard exposure during battery charging.
An OSHRC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has voided a manufacturer's citation for not having an eyewash unit located in the immediate area of a battery charging station. In the citation, OSHA claimed the company committed a serious violation of 1910.151(c) for failure to have an eyewash station within the work area for emergency use.
The Company's Situation
The company uses its four forklifts on a daily basis. After the facility shuts down for the evening, the employees connect the forklift batteries to the battery charger and charge them overnight. The employees are not otherwise required to work with the forklift batteries, although they may occasionally add water to the batteries. The company has a contract with another company, which periodically comes to the facility to service the forklifts. The contractor's responsibilities include maintenance of the forklift batteries.
In issuing the citation, OSHA relied in part on a Standard Interpretation and Compliance Letter addressing "Quick drenching or flushing facilities in battery charging areas," issues August 16, 1976. Paragraph one of the letter states that battery charging areas are not specifically mentioned in 1910.151(c) but are considered to be covered if the battery caps are removed and if electrolyte acid is added, removed, or spilled. The letter further says that if the battery is simply undergoing charge, it is not necessary to have quick drenching or flushing facilities for the eyes or skin.