OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
March 4, 1993
Mr. Herbert B. Weller
5222 Old Fairground Drive
Indianapolis, Indiana 46226
Dear Mr. Weller:
Thank you for the information contained in your letter of February 16 in which you request the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a formal hazard alert addressing the results of the tests performed on Keller ladder shoe pads. We are in the process of reviewing this information and the video tapes that accompanied your letter, and we will notify you when this review has been completed. We appreciate your continued interest in the safety and health of the nation's workforce.
Roger A. Clark
Directorate of Compliance Programs
February 16, 1993
Mr. Marc J. Schoem
Director/Division of Corrective Actions
Consumers Products Safety Commission
Room 240 W.B.T.
Washington, D.C. 20207
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Frances Perkins Federal Building, S2315
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
Dear Ms. Strunk & Mr. Schoem:
This is a formal petition as to a ladder/ladders manufactured by Keller Industries of Florida. I have been in contact with Mr. Earl Gershernow of CPSC and Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of OSHA for the past 3 years.
Over the course of those past 3 years I have submitted numerous items for your review. It is known that OSHA issued a "Hazard Alert" April 16, 1992 as to the foreseeable use of this product.
As of todate I have spent about $50,000.00 having testing done on this ladder. I have been doing an in depth investigation and am also working with injured parties nationwide.
I am submitting to you, for your review, some 6 hours of videos that show various testing on this ladder. These test are done by Mr. Jim F. Hills, President of Applied Technical Services, of Marietta, Georgia. He can be reached at (404) 423-1400. Mr. Hills has been involved in several cases where Keller ladders are at issue.
I myself, had a Keller ladder slip out from under me on May 1, 1990 and was severely and permanently injured. My case has been documented as a pure slip out with the ladder at an expected angle of use.
The brunt of this PETITION is the material used in the anti slip pads of these ladders. Secondly is the foreseeable reversed placing of such ladders. First we have a material that is PVC for a anti slip pad and secondly we have a safety shoe that will not permit flat contact when used in a foreseeable and in fact recommended use.
I would like to first address the material issued which makes an unsafe safety shoe on these Keller Ladders. Enclosed is "Experiments on Safety in the Use of Portable Ladders". It is form the Institute of Occupational Health, Safety Dept., Finland. On page 9 we find hold and friction in sliding test. On page 11 we find "The friction coefficient obtained with (PVC) anti-skids was quite low, within the marginal range in almost all test. Thus sudden slips may occur with such low friction values".
I submit that again, this is from the Institute of Occupational Health, Safety Dept., Finland. While these may be test conducted on another continent it is obvious that friction values on plastic are the same no matter where one lives. Using this as a foundation we now come to our test done here in the U.S.A.
The first set of test you will review is on video #1. Mr. Hills does coefficient of friction test on ladder feet alone. He used Keller, Werner and Louisville feet. He then test the friction value of other know materials that can be used in the construction of anti-slip pads if one chose to. A picture begins to emerge in this first video. We can see the low values of plastic and also begin to see some other traits of the Keller foot pad.
After viewing video #1 we go to do the actual ANSI slip out test as described in ANSI A14.2. Mr. Hills goes into great detail to do the test in a fair and impartial way. He shows you the sandpaper and sands the plywood on video. His weights are calibrated. Every step of the way he conducts himself as the professional he is. The results of this set of tests end up with the Keller ladder failing in every pull.
After Kellers attorneys saw this set of test they went about trying to discredit Mr. Hills tests by hiring Mr. Killoren of UL. Killoren said Hills line of pull was of a couple of degrees, he thought that the plywood was off maybe a hair. Possible the bar was of a smidgin. Anything to make Hills test non authoritative. Keller also had their hired expert do "his" version of the ANSI test.
One must realize that Hills test had the ladder failing around 30 to 40 pounds of pull. Also the ladder moving up to several inches, not the 1/4" allowable by ANSI.
Keller expert, a Mr. John Ver Halen does his test which appears in the middle of video #2. The ladder still fails no matter what protocol Hills uses.
After Ver Halen ran his test Hills ran another set which is found on the balance of video #2. the ladder still fails no matter what protocol Hills uses.
We are also faced with the fact that UL supposedly tested these ladders. The question is why is there 4 independent engineers whom have signed affidavits that they can not get the ladder to pass. I also bring to your attention the letter from UL to Keller Dated May 22, 1990 where they waived test due to identical feet. Where did UL draw the line as to "identical" feet. Note that in the INTERROGATORIES four revisions to the 5744 foot. Did UL waive those test also as they claim they were "identical". but of most importance is, they "ALL" are PVC. There all the same pvc which has this coefficient of friction problem.
One further item is a lot of these ladders DO NOT carry the UL sticker. Why??? And if they don't then who is supposedly certifying they meet ANSI?
Therefore: I petition that a warning be put out that Keller 3200 and 3100 series ladders fail to meet OSHA and ANSI standards. That due to the material of construction, being PVC, as found in Kellers INTERROGATORIES, all the ladders, 5744, 5744A, 5744B, 5744C, and 5744D be declared a hazard.
As to the issue of using the ladder reversed OSHA has already recognized this problem and sent out a hazard alert. When asked in deposition was it foreseeable to Keller that these ladders would be used this way they replied yes. Yet when used this manner, a completely normal and nationally recognized manner, the foot will not set flat to the surface.
I am confident that after your engineering staff reviews the videos you will both, OSHA and CPSC, do something to bring about a stop to this total waste of human suffering and death caused by this manufacture.
I do request a response from both parties. I would like copies of any alert issued.
I have put three years of my life into this, 50 thousand dollars and given up my leg, the next step is yours.
Herbert B. Weller
Old Fairgrounds Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46226