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OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Wells Manufacturing Company's Model H-006 Hotplates (Revised)


February 14, 2000

MEMORANDUM FOR:
  • REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
  • STATE DESIGNEES
  • CONSULTATION PROGRAM MANAGERS

THROUGH:

  • R. DAVIS LAYNE
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary
  •  
  • JEROLD R. MANDE
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary

FROM:

  • STEVEN F. WITT
  • Director
  • Directorate of Technical Support

SUBJECT:

  • Hazard Information Bulletin1 Wells Manufacturing Company's Model H-006 Hotplates (Revised)

Purpose: The purpose of this Hazard Information Bulletin is:

  1. to alert users of Wells Manufacturing Company's Model H-006 Hotplates (coffee warmers) that specific hotplates may not be properly grounded as installed, and, as a result, may pose an electrical shock hazard;
  2. to inform the users of the subject hotplates of the corrective actions taken by Wells Manufacturing Company; and
  3. to provide recommendations for all employers that own the subject model hotplates.

Background:

The Boston Regional Office brought to our attention the fact that the metal switch plate on Model H-006 electric hotplates, manufactured by Wells Manufacturing Company, may be improperly grounded as installed, thus exposing employees to the potential for electric shock.

It is the understanding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) that the Wells Manufacturing Company Model H-006 hotplates are installed exclusively in the coffee stations of numerous Dunkin' Donuts shops. On February 18, 1999, Allied Domecq Retailing USA, parent company of Dunkin' Donuts, sent out a memorandum to all Dunkin' Donuts shops informing them that the Wells Manufacturing Model H-006 Hotplate metal face plate for the ON/OFF toggle switch may not be properly grounded as installed. The memorandum urged shop owners to have a licensed electrician inspect the switch plate to ensure that it was properly grounded and that all other applicable code requirements were being met.

Description of Hazard:

The Model H-006 hotplates are built into counter tops and the exposed non-current-carrying metal switch plate, which secures the hotplate power switch to the counter front, has been found to be installed without proper grounding. The problem toggle switches can be identified by the presence of an Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.) Recognized Component Mark on them (the toggle switches are not U.L. listed).

Corrective Actions by Allied Domecq and Wells Manufacturing:

On August 18, 1999, Allied Domecq sent a memorandum to all affected shops detailing its corrective action plan. The company, working with Wells Manufacturing and millwork suppliers, told users that to correct any possible wiring deficiencies, the existing hotplate must be removed and replaced with a new U.L. Listed Wells Manufacturing Model H-006 U.L. hotplate and switch assembly.

Wells Manufacturing Company is currently contacting all affected shops in the United States. All the subject problem hotplates will be replaced. Their goal is to replace all of the subject hotplates in Massachusetts by December 31, 1999 and in all shops in the United States by March 1, 2000.

Recommendations:

Even though a massive replacement program was promptly launched, it will take several months to complete. In the meantime, in order to assure the safety of all employees, OSHA recommends that all employers that have Wells Manufacturing Company's Model H-006 built-in hotplates installed at their facilities have licensed electricians inspect the wiring connection of the hotplates to ensure that the metal switch plate is properly grounded. If the hotplates are not properly grounded, they either should be taken out of service or appropriate steps taken to correct the hazard.

Please distribute this bulletin to all Area Offices and appropriate local labor and industry associations.


1 The Directorate of Technical Support issues Hazard Information Bulletins (HIB) in accordance with OSHA Instruction CPL 2.65 to provide relevant information regarding unrecognized or misunderstood health hazards, inadequacies of materials, devices, techniques, and safety engineering controls. HIBs are initiated based on information provided by the field staff, studies, reports and concerns expressed by safety and health professionals, employers, and the public. Bulletins are developed based on a thorough evaluation of available facts and in coordination with appropriate parties.

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