Both Sides in Construction Eye Safety Case Unhappy, Appeal Ruling

- Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and an Omaha, Neb., construction firm both want federal appeals courts to weigh in on a federal safety commission decision that invalidated a decades-old construction rule on eye and skin safety.

The case is the first to challenge the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s practice in the early 1970s of applying manufacturing requirements to regulations for the construction industry without going through a public comment period for those new construction rules.

The Labor Department and Kiewit Power Constructors Co. have each requested separate federal courts to review a final decision issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on Sept. 28 that dismissed OSHA citations against the company but didn’t include an order declaring a construction rule on emergency eye and skin washing to be invalid.

The company, despite an earlier finding in its favor, is challenging the requirement for some construction sites to have emergency equipment on hand allowing workers to flush hazardous substances from their eyes and skin. The commission found that construction rule to be invalid and dismissed the citations against the company. But Kiewit wants a declaratory order affirming the rule’s invalidity.

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