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National Maritime Safety Association v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
649 F.3d 743 (2011)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (defendant) published a final rule regulating a method of hoisting known as a vertical tandem lift (VTL). The National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA) (plaintiff), a trade association representing marine-terminal operators, petitioned for review of the rule. A VTL used a crane to lift multiple interconnected shipping containers at once. At the time the rule was promulgated, marine cargo handlers had been performing VTLs for more than 20 years. OSHA estimated that one million VTLs had been performed since 1986. No injuries had been reported as having occurred during a VTL. The final rule limited the weight of two-container VTLs and banned VTLs of certain types of containers. The rule also required that certain equipment be inspected immediately prior to being used in a VTL despite OSHA’s acknowledgement that this might make ship-to-shore VTLs impractical. The NMSA argued that OSHA had failed to demonstrate that VTLs posed a significant risk to worker safety. Specifically, the NMSA challenged OSHA’s finding of significant risk on two grounds: (1) that OSHA was required to, but did not, quantify the risk that VTLs posed to worker safety; and (2) that OSHA relied on a finding that unregulated VTL operations posed a significant risk to worker safety without considering existing voluntary standards and current industry practice.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Henderson, J.)
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