Austin Road Co. v. OSHRC and Builders Steel Co. v. Marshall


What are the important findings in Austin Road Co. v. OSHRC and Builders Steel Co. v. Marshall? Provide approximately 200-300 words in your response and a citation for your source material. (pg.260)

Paraphrase the section below please.

The Commission’s factual findings, and the inferences derived from them, must be supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole. The term œsubstantial evidence has been defined by courts as that which a reasonable person would accept as supporting a conclusion. Although this standard appears to be somewhat stricter than the abuse of discretion standard applied to questions of law, as discussed above, courts nevertheless accord substantial deference to the determinations of an ALJ concerning evidentiary and factual matters because the ALJ has had the opportunity to observe witnesses first hand, whereas the Commission and the courts have had no such opportunity. So long as the Commission sets forth a rational argument connecting the facts of the case with its decision, therefore, courts are unlikely to overturn a decision based on the facts.


Not all courts apply the substantial evidence standard in the same manner. For example, in Austin Road Co. v. OSHRC, the court overturned a Commission decision on grounds that the decision was speculative and not supported by substantial evidence in the record. The court held that the Secretary failed to prove that the defendant’s activities œaffected interstate commerce, an essential prerequisite to establishing OSHA’s jurisdiction. As a result, OSHA failed to demonstrate that the defendant was an œemployer within the meaning of the OSH Act, and the court declined to enforce the citation.

In other cases, courts have remanded Commission orders where the record was insufficient to provide a œsubstantial basis for the Commission’s decision. For example, in Builders Steel Co. v. Marshall,’ l the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Commission did not provide an adequate factual foundation for the court to find that the Commission’s order was reasonable. In Builders Steel, the employer was cited for failing to provide adequate fall protection for welders working approximately 29 feet above a concrete floor. The Commission concluded that the warehouse on which the employees were working was a single-story building subject to the regulation found at 29 C. F. R. § 1926.105(a), which required fall protection for workers operating higher than 25 feet. The employer contended that the building was a multitiered structure subject to a different regulation found at § 1926.750(b)(2)(i), which required fall protection for workers operating at heights of greater than 30 feet. After finding that there was insufficient evidence in the record to support the Commission’s conclusion that the building was a single- story structure subject to section 105(a), the court vacated the order and remanded the case for the Commission to supplement the record to show which standard applied to the building. Penalty assessments are evaluated by a court using the highly deferential œabuse of discretion standard. So long as a penalty is within OSHA’s statutory authority and is based on some findings set forth in the record, a court is unlikely to vacate a penalty approved by the Commission.