Trinity Industries, Inc. v. Oshrc

16 F.3d 1455 (6th Cir. 1994)


A P employee filed a formal complaint with D, alleging that portable grinders and rollers used in the plant were improperly wired, that compressed gas cylinders were unsecured and not fitted with valve protection caps, and that oil-slick floors and stored materials impeded safe access to workplace aisles and passageways. P refused to grant D permission to inspect the facility. D sought an administrative inspection warrant from a federal magistrate judge. D also sought conditional authorization to conduct a full-scope inspection of the work site pursuant to an administrative plan detailed in OSHA Instruction CPL 2.45A. A facility is subject to a full-scope inspection if: (1) an employee complaint has been filed that sets forth reasonable grounds for the Secretary of Labor to believe that a violation or danger exists; (2) the establishment is in an industry with a high lost workdays injury rate; (3) a complete safety inspection of the facility has not been carried out in the current year or in the last two fiscal years; and (4) the facility's safety records show a lost workday injury rate at or above the national average. D maintains that P met the first three of these four conditions. A magistrate issued a warrant granting the agency the authority to conduct a limited 'special inspection' of P's facility focusing on the allegations of the employee complaint. P filed a motion to quash the warrant, and it was denied. D conducted the limited-complaint inspection and issued citations to P for specific alleged violations of OSHA standards. The district court affirmed the magistrate's order denying Trinity's motion to quash the warrant. P then agreed to allow D to review the company's safety and health records, and to conduct a comprehensive inspection if the records revealed an establishment lost workday injury rate of 4.2 or more. The lost workday injury rate was 13.6, and D undertook two comprehensive inspections. Two citations were issued, and penalties proposed by D totaled almost $33,000. P challenged the two citations, and an administrative law judge denied a motion by P to suppress the evidence obtained. P obtained review by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission which affirmed the ALJ. P appealed.