New England Grocery Store Faces Company-Wide Workplace Safety Violations
A recent complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Labor's regional solicitor's office in Boston requests that the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission orders DeMoulas Super Markets Inc., doing business as Market Basket, to adhere to workplace safety measures. The Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based grocery store chain has more than 60 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The request for the entire company to adhere to the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's safety standards comes after multiple inspections at various store locations in which similar safety hazards were discovered. An inspection of Market Baskets stores in Rindge and Concord, New Hampshire, resulted in citations and fines up to $589,200. An employee of the Market Basket store in Billerica, Massachusetts, was seriously injured in 2007 after an unguarded fall and an employee of the Rindge, New Hampshire store was similarly seriously injured in April 2011 when he fell 11 feet onto a concrete floor from a poorly guarded storage mezzanine.
In addition to multiple fall hazards and recorded fall injuries, employees at the Rindge and Concord stores alone sustained at least 40 recorded hand lacerations between 2008 and 2011. OSHA has found that the company also failed to protect employees in produce, deli, and bakery departments against laceration dangers by not identifying the need for employee hand protection and by not providing any hand protection to employees working with knives, sharp objects, or cutting machines. The company agreed to complete job hazard analyses in all of their stores after being cited by OSHA in 2006, which they have failed to carry out.
Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said "Hazardous conditions at multiple locations that expose employees to serious injuries demand a swift and comprehensive corrective response at the corporate level…OSHA insists that this employer completely and effectively eliminate the hazards it never should have allowed to exist in the first place." He continued to say, "Worker safety is not optional, and it cannot be addressed in a piecemeal fashion. It must be addressed across the board…This employer has the responsibility to safeguard all its employees at all its locations, something it has failed to do."
If you or your loved one has been injured in the workplace, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation lawyer.
US Labor Department files complaint to require DeMoulas Super Markets to address hazards at Market Basket stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, OSHA Regional News Release, January 18, 2012
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