Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

OSHA Fines MA FedEx Ground Packaging System, Inc. for Guarding Machine Hazard

October 24, 2014,

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration fined FedEx Ground Packaging System, Inc. upon finding an unguarded conveyor belt at the company’s Wilmington, MA shipping distribution center.

After inspecting the Wilmington facility, OSHA officials discovered that the belt conveyor system’s rotating parts were insufficiently guarded on the periphery to prevent employee’s fingers and hands from potentially becoming caught. Failing to guard the conveyor belt could have resulted in injuries, including pinched and crushed fingers and hands, concussions, abrasions and serious nerve damage. Proper machine guarding would ensure that no part of an employee’s body would come into contact with the machine’s moving parts.

According to OSHA’s records, the company has already twice been cited for similar safety violations in 2010 and 2011 at facilities in Grove City, Ohio, and in Syracuse, New York.

"It is critical for workers' safety and health that an employer with multiple facilities, such as this, ensures that required safeguards are in place and maintained effectively at all times in all locations," Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's acting deputy regional administrator for New England said.

Considering the company’s prior violations, OSHA cited FedEx for a repeat violation with a proposed fine of $44,000. According to OSHA, a repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Continue reading "OSHA Fines MA FedEx Ground Packaging System, Inc. for Guarding Machine Hazard " »

New Bedford Shellfish Processing Plant Fined after Worker’s Death

June 12, 2014,

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined New Bedford shellfish processing plant Sea Watch International as well as the temporary employment agency which supplied the plant’s workers, a total of $44,000 in safety violations following the death of an employee earlier this year.

The worker, Victor Gerena, 35, was an 18-year veteran of Sea Watch who had become entangled in a rotary turbine engine while cleaning jammed clams from a shucking machine, the Boston Globe reported. According to OSHA officials, the machine’s power had not been turned off—ultimately causing Gerena to become stuck in the machine. Such preventative measures as the “lock out tag out” should have been taken by Gerena and officials from OSHA alleged that the company had failed to properly train the man of this safety procedure.

In total, the Maryland-based company was issued 11 violations by OSHA, including eight serious violations for workplace safety standards, equaling $35,410 in fines. $9,000 in fines were also issued to Rhode Island temp agency Workforce Unlimited, covering five violations—three of which were deemed serious by OSHA.

This is not the only time Sea Watch International, a major supplier of canned clams for 35 years, has been under scrutiny by OSHA. In 2011, the plant was inspected by officials who had discovered several serious safety violations, including inadequate emergency training for employees dealing with hazardous waste and insufficient respiratory protection for some workers. According to the Boston Globe, OSHA reported no “lock out tag out” violations were made at the time. Because of those violations in 2011, the company paid $4,675 in fines and ultimately mitigated the issues. A follow-up inspection in April 2012 found the company was in full compliance with OSHA standards.

Sadly, this is only another example of how inadequate training and non-compliance with safety standards in the workplace can lead to workers being injured or killed on the job. Recently, we reported that the Tribe hummus plant in Taunton, MA, was cited following the 2011 death of Daniel Collazo who like Gerena, was caught in a machinery for not using the “lock out tag out” safety procedure. Tribe was fined $500,000 by OSHA. According to the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Gerena’s death marks the twenty-second worker death caused by machinery in Massachusetts since 2000. The majority of these deaths were the direct result of inadequate machine guards and lack of other federally mandated safety measures, according to the coalition and the Boston Globe.

Continue reading "New Bedford Shellfish Processing Plant Fined after Worker’s Death " »

NY Teen Hospitalized in Boston after Severing Arm At Work

April 28, 2014,

A teenager from New York is being treated at a Boston hospital after severing his arm in a pasta machine at the Italian restaurant he worked at.

Restaurant manager Mia Violi of Violi’s Restaurant in Massena, NY said that the teenager had been cleaning the pasta machine when his right arm got caught and severed at the elbow. Employees are still trying to discern how the machine was activated while it was being cleaned. The 17 year-old was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital last Thursday and was listed in serious condition. According to WCVB, it has not been determine whether OSHA will be investigating the incident.

WORKPLACE AMPUTATIONS

Amputations are some of the most debilitating types of injuries that can occur in a workplace, and can involve a variety of types of machinery and occur during various types of activities. Often, according to OSHA, amputations are the result of employees operating unguarded or inadequately safeguarded machinery such as:

• Mechanical power presses
• Powered and non-powered conveyor belts
• Printing presses
• Roll-forming/bending machines
• Sheering machines
• Food slicers
• Meat-cutting saws
• Drill presses
• Milling machines
• Grinding machines
• Slitters

These injuries may also occur during material-handling activities such as when using forklifts, trash compactors, and powered and non-powered tools. In addition to normal operations, preparation activities also expose employees to potential hazards; setting up, threading, preparing, adjusting, cleaning, lubricating and maintaining, and clearing jams.

Preventing Amputation

Before operating any type of machinery, employees should conduct a hazard analysis; a technique that focuses on the relationship between the machine, the employee, the type of work being done, and the risk for potential injury. Additionally, employees should regularly inspect and service machinery to ensure it is running properly and does not pose hazards to operators.

The following types of mechanical hazards include:

Pinch points; where two points move together with one operating in a circle; commonly found on belt drives, chain drives, gear drives, or feeder rolls.

Wrap points; occurs when there is an exposed piece of rotating machinery, like a rotating shaft. These points can easily catch clothing or fingers.

Shear points; where two moving parts move across one another or a single sharp edge moves with enough speed or force to cut; commonly found on conveyers, trimmers, and forklifts.

Crush points; occurs when two objects are moving toward one another with enough force to crush an object that is caught in between. Gears on conveyer belts or other machinery, as well as pressing machines pose this hazard.

Pull-in points; points where objects outside of machine are at risk of being pulled into equipment. Feeder rolls and grinders have pull-in points.

Thrown objects; objects that are flung by machinery or moving parts; wood chippers are a common source of thrown objects.

Continue reading "NY Teen Hospitalized in Boston after Severing Arm At Work " »

Boston Man Dies After Back Bay Elevator Shaft Fall

March 28, 2014,

Tragedy struck in a landmark Back Bay building last Friday. First responders were called to 31 Saint James Avenue after reports of a man falling to his death in an elevator shaft. According to Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald, the man was an elevator operator in the building and was found unresponsive at the bottom of the shaft.

Though the police report indicates they do not believe that foul play was involved, OSHA and Boston Police investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the deadly accident. Some are speculating a safety mechanism that could have failed as the elevator was stuck between the first floor and the basement, and the man is believed to have attempted to jump to the first floor. Several local voices piped up on social media to express their concern over the freight elevator. Those who worked in the building often avoided it out of fear that something like this could happen.

Though the risk of dying in an elevator is small, the possibility of getting injured or killed on the job is not. According to the United States Department of Labor, there were 3 million work-related injuries or illnesses in 2012. Victims who are injured on the job and their families face emotional and physical pain, and well as a steep financial burden from mounting medical bills, ongoing treatment, and lost future wages.

Continue reading "Boston Man Dies After Back Bay Elevator Shaft Fall " »

Worker Fatally Injured in New Bedford Industrial Incident

January 20, 2014,

New Bedford officials have reported that a 35-year-man was the victim of a fatal work incident involving a shucking machine at a seafood processing plant on Thursday.

The man was apparently doing a routine cleaning of the machine when he became entangled in the machine’s rotary turbine engine. Rescue crews were dispatched to the scene, where he man was pronounced deceased. The incident remains under investigation.

Industrial machinery injuries are almost always severe and debilitating. A moment’s inattention or single misstep as well as a defective or unguarded piece of equipment can lead to irreparable damage of a limb, result in permanent disability and end a career, or even result in death.

While there are a number of types of industrial machinery that can cause fatal work injuries, the most common types of dangerous machinery include:

-Mechanical power presses
-Powered and non-powered conveyer belts
-Printing presses
-Sheering machines
-Drill presses
-Meat-cutting saws
-Milling machines
-Grinding machines
-Food slicers
-Slitters

Continue reading "Worker Fatally Injured in New Bedford Industrial Incident " »

Worker Fatally Injured at 49ers Stadium Construction Site

October 17, 2013,

A delivery truck driver died on Monday after he was crushed by a steel rebar being unloaded at the new 49ners stadium construction site.

872475_construction_workers.jpgThe victim, Edward Lake II, 60, died as he was unloading a bundle of rebar set to be used in the construction of the new $1.2 billion stadium. Both state and local authorities investigated the incident, and the lead construction manager halted work on the project for the remainder of Monday. The death is the second to take place at the site in four months. According to the contractor, employees would resume work on Tuesday and take part in safety meetings and be offered counseling.

It is unclear whether OSHA will cite the contracting company for the incident. The prior fatal incident, according to OSHA investigators, did not warrant a formal citation as the incident was deemed “unexplained.”

More than 4,000 workers suffer fatal work injuries each year in the United States according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). National statistics continue to show the construction industry as the most hazardous work environment for individuals, with construction site injuries occurring nearly three times the rate of any other industry in the United States.

Construction’s “Fatal Four”

Nearly 20% of all occupational injuries occur in the construction industry. Falls accounted for 35% of deaths, followed by struck by an object (10%), electrocutions (9%), and caught in-between injuries (2%). Considering the statistics, these “fatal four” accounted for more than 55% of all construction worker deaths in 2011.

Continue reading "Worker Fatally Injured at 49ers Stadium Construction Site " »

National Study Looks at Preventing Amputation Injuries in the Workplace

May 23, 2013,

Massachusetts workers take note; there has been a recent study conducted that sheds new light on the frequency and prevention of amputation injuries in the workplace.

Amputations are one of the most severe and debilitating types of workplace injuries. A moment’s inattention or single misstep, as well as defective or unguarded mechanical equipment can lead to irreparable damage of a limb and result in permanent disability or even the end of a career.114545_mill_drill_machine.jpg
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there were 5,280 non-fatal amputations in the United States (a rate of 6 per every 100,000 workers); the lowest ever recorded. The greatest number of incidences occurred in 2005, with 8,450 non-fatal amputations. The majority of these types of workplace injuries occur in manufacturing plants and more than 50% occur in construction, agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, and service industries, collectively. Not surprisingly, about 96% of amputations involve loss of a finger.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognized four types of hazardous exposures that can cause amputation including: machinery and workplace equipment, parts or materials that may collapse on and crush a worker, motor vehicles including forklifts and tractors, and hand tools. While this Minnesota study was national, the findings and information relate to all Massachusetts workplace employees.

Types of Hazardous Machines

Some of the most common machines that pose amputation hazards include:

• Mechanical power presses
• Powered and non-powered conveyor belts
• Printing presses
• Roll-forming/bending machines
• Sheering machines
• Food slicers
• Meat-cutting saws
• Drill presses
• Milling machines
• Grinding machines
• Slitters

Continue reading "National Study Looks at Preventing Amputation Injuries in the Workplace " »

Dangerous Workplace: MA Construction Site Accidents Are Most Serious and Most Fatal Study Recent Finds

May 2, 2013,

Each year thousands of workers are injured in workplace incidents around the Commonwealth. Last year alone, over 50,000 workers were injured and more than 30 were killed on Massachusetts job sites. A study published by The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health found that construction is the most dangerous work industry and far surpasses any other industry in the amount of workplace injuries and fatalities.

Forklift accidents are one type of incident that most often occurs on construction sites, manufacturing and storage warehouses, and accounts for a great number of workplace injuries.
Accidents with forklifts can be caused by numerous factors such as unsafe workplace conditions, inexperience, or unsafe practices while operating the machinery. Accidents caused by those types of factors are almost 100% preventable if the proper safety precautions are taken.1125238_forklift_1.jpg

Some of the most common physical conditions that contribute to forklift accidents include slippery or uneven surfaces, floor and load limits, and obstructions. Slippery and uneven surfaces pose hazards such as skidding and tip over, especially when a forklift is traveling over oil, grease, water, mud, gravel, and other uneven ground conditions. It is most advised to avoid these types of surfaces whenever possible and spread material, such as sand or other absorbent material, over slick areas you cannot avoid to prevent skidding. Workers should always report unsafe conditions, and warning signs should be implemented to warn others of danger, until the area can be properly cleaned.

Continue reading "Dangerous Workplace: MA Construction Site Accidents Are Most Serious and Most Fatal Study Recent Finds " »

Construction Worker Injured on Brighton Job Site

October 11, 2012,

Construction workers have dangerous jobs. When these employees leave to go to work in the morning, they know that there is a significant chance that they may get hurt. A construction worker, who was filling in a trench for sewer pipes in the Boston area, was reminded of this dreadful fact on September 27th. Working on a site formerly known as a Volkswagen dealership, the 49-year old man became wedged in between a small Bobcat machine and a pipe when the Bobcat machine tipped over. It took thirty members of the technical rescue team from the Boston Fire Department to get him out of the property now owned by Harvard University. After forty minutes of being pinned in the trench, the worker was finally removed and may have a few broken bones according to the deputy of the fire department. He was taken to Beth Israel Hospital to be treated for his injuries.

Workers’ Compensation

Construction accidents, like the one mentioned above, occur frequently in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that there are a total of 4,206 worker fatalities in the private industry in the year 2010. Out of these fatalities, 774 or 18.7% are attributed to construction sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to “prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work” and thereby created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to set and enforce protective workplace safety and health hazards. According to OSHA, falls, electrocutions, struck by an object, and caught-in/between are the top four reasons why construction workers are injured and die every year.

Workers who are involved in construction accidents are burdened with extensive costs associated with their injuries. Workers’ compensation can pay for such costs in exchange for you promising not to sue your employer. In Massachusetts, workers’ compensation will usually cover your medical costs, disability payments, 60% of your average income (or greater if you become disabled due to your accident), and other compensation (including coverage for permanent disfigurement or scars and loss of function). If you are a construction worker and your injury prevents you from returning to work, you may be able to receive paid-for vocational training to get another job. Immediate family members can recover death benefits if the worker was killed on the job.

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MA Supreme Court makes Positive Decision for Workers' Comp Disability Benefits

March 22, 2012,

In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Court found that workers’ compensation disability benefits could, in some cases, be calculated based on the worker’s current weekly earnings at his most recent job—even if that job is not in Massachusetts.

The controlling precedent for the lower court’s decision in this case was Letteney’s Case, where the court held that wages earned outside of Massachusetts could NOT be used to determine current workers’ compensation benefits. In the case at bar, the court reined in that holding—limiting it to cases involving “out-of-State wages earned after suffering latent injuries (such as from exposure to asbestos) that do not result in eligibility for incapacity benefits for at least 5 years.”

Scott Wadsworth, the plaintiff in the case, was certainly pleased. Wadsworth was injured in a metal rolling machine accident (his right hand was crushed) in 1980 while on the job at a Massachusetts corporation. He received benefits for incapacity from 1980-1988. He then started a job in Connecticut. He underwent a procedure to help the pain in his previously injured hand, which only caused further pain, then applied for permanent disability in 2003, arguing that his benefits should be calculated based on his wage rate in 2003 at his Connecticut job. Wadsworth’s rationale was that “he was permanently disabled from a subsequent injury that was a recurrence of his 1980 injury after having returned to work for a period of at least two months.”

Marking a success for disabled Massachusetts employees, the Supreme Court essentially agreed.

For full text of the opinion, see Justia.

If you have any questions about your own workers’ compensation claim, seek the aid of a skilled MA workers’ compensation attorney.

Mass. disability benefits based on current rate of pay regardless of location: Court, Business Insurance, March 20, 2012

MassCOSH Reviews Workplace Safety at Angelica Textile Services in Somerville

August 18, 2011,

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) has recently conducted an assessment of workplace safety at Angelica Textile Services, operating under the name of Royal Institutional Services, in Somerville, Massachusetts. The investigation was prompted by multiple worker complaints in regards to illnesses, injuries, and long-term health problems due to a dangerous and unhealthy working environment. MassCOSH´s findings were recently published in a >report that was compiled from this recent workplace safety assessment. As reported in OSHA Cites Somerville Commercial Laundry Service After Employee Injury, the company was also cited by the hand was compressed in a large iron. The company’s Somerville facility was also cited by OSHA in 2006 for hazardous waste and protective equipment safety hazards.

After OSHA´s findings in June, MassCOSH interviewed and observed 113 Angelica employees in July to document health problems and injuries thought to have been caused by working conditions. The majority of workers interviewed experienced health problems that they believed were due to their work in the laundry factory. Pain in the shoulders, back and wrist injuries were most common. Many other workers complained of neck, foot, leg, and knee pain. One unidentified worker said, “As a leader on my line I have to force my co-workers to perform more than what they can.”

When the workers were asked about working conditions that might have contributed to their health problems, workers repeatedly referred to the employer’s recent increase in work output quotas as a significant factor contributing to these injuries or chronic pain. Another unidentified employee was quoted: “I’ve been working at Angelica for more than 20 years. They gave me a written warning because I do not perform at 100% of [the newly implemented] production [quotas]. I’m in pain, my joints hurt. And, I’m very worried about my health.”

In addition to interviewing the workers, MassCOSH also conducted a review of tasks and protocol of cleaning soiled hospital linens and a chemical hazard review of cleaning products and relevant standards of manufacturers’ safety recommendations for the products and toxicology information.

MassCOSH found the following safety hazards during their investigation:

• Majority of employees are extremely physically fatigued while operating machinery. Workers seem to be experiencing an increase in pain and work-related injuries due to the increased production quota.

• Health and safety training is insufficient and not in the language of all of the workers.

• Poor maintenance and frequent breakdown of machinery exposes workers to chemical fumes and unnecessary chemical spills.

• Inadequate employee clothing to protect workers from soiled or contaminated laundry (such as blood-borne pathogens found in hospital laundry).

• Overcrowded work areas which block emergency exits.

• Increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries due to maneuvering heavy carts of laundry.

• A demeaning and hostile work environment hinders employees from speaking up about unsafe work conditions.

If you or your loved one has been injured in the workplace or suffers from chronic pain due to work, it is advised that you contact an experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation lawyer.

Sources:

Angelica Textile Services Assessment Report, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, August, 2011

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Somerville, Mass., commercial laundry for safety hazards following worker injury, OSHA Regional News Release, June 28, 2011

Related Blog Posts:

OSHA Cites Somerville Commercial Laundry Service After Employee Injury

Bostik Inc. Provides Cause for Plant Explosion and Worker Injuries in Middleton, Officials Continue Investigation

Mansfield Factory Worker Injured by Forklift

Continue reading "MassCOSH Reviews Workplace Safety at Angelica Textile Services in Somerville " »

Street Cleaning Machine Accident Leaves Operator Dead; OSHA and State Police Reconstruction Team Investigating

July 11, 2011,

In a July 5th work-related accident, a 58-year-old street sweeper from Penacook, New Hampshire, was killed in his street sweeping vehicle at an intersection in Norwood, Massachusetts. According to David Traub, spokesman from the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, the street cleaner, Patrick J. MacDonald, was killed after getting trapped in the street sweeping machinery. David Procopio, State Police spokesman, said that MacDonald appeared to have been doing repairs on the machine when he became entangled into the container that holds debri.

Norwood Fire Department spokesman George Morrice confirmed that paramedics who arrived at the scene pronounced MacDonald dead. The State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction team were called to the scene to investigate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also investigating the accident to determine whether or not workplace safety standards were violated. OSHA inspections must be completed within 180 days, involve an onsite inspection, interviews, record reviews, and any required testing.

OSHA Spokesman Ted Fitzgerald said that if the administration did find that the accident occurred due to safety violations, then the company would be cited and likely fined. If a violation is cited as serious, the fine could be up to $7,000. OSHA issues a serious violation when death or serious physical harm could likely result from a hazard that the employer should have known about and failed to fix. If the violation is cited as a willful violation, the fine to the company could be up to $70,000. OSHA issues a willful violation, the most serious of violations, when the employer knows that a hazardous situation exists and intentionally makes no attempt to fix it. MacDonald was working for an Everett-based sweeping company called Bay State Sweeping.

Although this fatal accident is still under investigation, many questions arise from the circumstances of the accident as it could have occurred due to operational error or due to a hazard that the employer could have prevented, such as a lack of training. Another possibility is that the sweeping machine malfunctioned, entitling the deceased family to a Massachusetts Defective Products Liability Lawsuit. There are many unknowns about this case. From afar, there may be a defective product claim, but that would likely require the hiring of an expert or numerous experts. The issue of proper training is another avenue that an attorney will look at to see if that may have contributed to the accident. Additionally, knowing if that machine had similar problems in the past or any other operational issues in the past would be important, just as knowing when the last time that machine was inspected. These are just a few issues an attorney would look at. There may be many others that are not apparent right now but may be important as the investigation unfolds.

If you or your loved one has been injured in the workplace, it is best advised that you contact an experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation lawyer soon after the accident.

Sources:

Worker killed in street sweeping accident in Norwood, The Boston Globe, July 5, 2011

Related Blog Posts:

OSHA Cites Somerville Commercial Laundry Service After Employee Injury

Bostik Inc. Provides Cause for Plant Explosion and Worker Injuries in Middleton, Officials Continue Investigation

Mansfield Factory Worker Injured by Forklift

Continue reading "Street Cleaning Machine Accident Leaves Operator Dead; OSHA and State Police Reconstruction Team Investigating " »

OSHA Cites Somerville Commercial Laundry Service After Employee Injury

June 30, 2011,

Royal Institutional Services Inc., a commercial laundry service in Somerville, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a mechanic had his hand compressed by an ironing machine on January 26. The company faces four alleged violations of workplace safety standards and a proposed fine of $49,935.

After learning of the incident in which the employer was lubricating a chain on the iron that was not turned off, OSHA opened its inspection into the company´s workplace safety. They found that not only had the machine been powered at the time of the accident, but that it´s power source was not locked out before the mechanic began his maintenance. OSHA standards require "Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)" procedures which protect employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment when a machine is being serviced or maintenanced by completely powering off the energy to the machine.

OSHA also found that employees who were authorized to work on the machine were not properly trained or monitored to make sure that they knew how to operate the machines and manage their energy.

OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts, Jeffrey A. Erskine said, "It's not enough for an employer to have a hazardous energy control program in place. It must be effective, and authorized employees must be effectively trained so they will understand and safely utilize proper procedures…Failure to do so can result in serious injury, such as occurred here."

Because OSHA had previously cited the company for a lack of energy control procedures in March of 2006, Royal Institutional Services was given a repeat violation with a fine of $35,000 for this similar violation. They were also given two serious violations with $14,000 in fines for the lack of proper training and one violation for the lack of written lockout procedures for a machine with a fine of $935.

OSHA issues a repeat violation when an employer has previously been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA issues a serious violation when death or serious physical harm could likely result from a hazard about which the employer should have known about or knew about and failed to fix.

The inspection was conducted by OSHA´s Andover Area Office and the company has 15 business days to respond to OSHA or contest the charges to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

If you or your loved one has been injured in the workplace, it is advised that you contact an experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation lawyer.

Source:

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Somerville, Mass., commercial laundry for safety hazards following worker injury, OSHA Regional News Release, June 28, 2011

Related Blog Posts:

Bostik Inc. Provides Cause for Plant Explosion and Worker Injuries in Middleton, Officials Continue Investigation

Mansfield Factory Worker Injured by Forklift

Continue reading "OSHA Cites Somerville Commercial Laundry Service After Employee Injury " »

OSHA Cracks Down on Rise of Grain Equipment Deaths

March 22, 2011,

Following the death of a 20-year-old worker in Ohio last September, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has drawn national attention to grain storage facility deaths. After inspecting Gavilon Grain LLC, OSHA charged this company with over forty citations and $465,500 in fines for safety violations at their three Ohio facilities in Morral, West Jefferson and Harpster .

OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, explained that this death, in which the employee got caught in a discharge auger when cleaning out a grain bin, should have been avoided: “This tragic death could have been prevented had the grain bin owner and operators followed occupational safety standards and learned from the tragedies that have occurred at other grain bins…Grain elevator owners and operators must implement well-known safety practices to prevent workers from being hurt or killed in a grain bin.” Purdue University researchers report that approximately 25 workers in the U.S. were killed in grain equipment last year and that 2010 saw the highest number of grain deaths since they started collecting this data in 1978.

Because the number of deaths related to grain processing is on the rise, OSHA sent a notification letter in February 2011 to grain storage facility operators warning them of grain equipment safety standards. OSHA explains that entrapment deaths occur due to employer negligence, poor safety practices, and non-compliance with OSHA standards. Michaels said that "OSHA will not tolerate noncompliance with the Grain Handling Facilities standard…We will continue to use our enforcement authority to the fullest extent possible."

Although grain equipment deaths are not as frequent in Massachusetts as in other farming states, grain equipment can nonetheless pose a threat to workplace safety and employers should always take action for a safer workplace. Since 2009, OSHA has cited and fined numerous other grain operators nationwide in order to prevent further workplace injuries or deaths due to grain equipment.

If you have been injured in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Massachusetts Work Injury Lawyers for advice on a case and a free consultation.

Source:

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Gavilon Grain for willful, other safety violations following death of 20-year-old worker at Morral facility, OSHA National News Release, March 16, 2011

Continue reading "OSHA Cracks Down on Rise of Grain Equipment Deaths " »

PEP Direct LLC Receives Citations for Electrical and Mechanical Hazards

March 17, 2011,

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited PEP Direct LLC, a mailing and printing company based out of Wilton, New Hampshire, with 17 willful and serious citations for violating workplace safety protocol, accompanied by fines of $170,000.

OSHA has cited and fined this company for the following serious safety breaches of workplace safety:

· Three of their four printing presses lacked guarding to protect operators and other workers against being caught or falling into the presses and despite the employer’s knowledge
· Workers were fixing electrical equipment without training, lack of protection equipment, and were fixing live electrical equipment without first turning off the power, all resulting in possible electrocution
· Untrained industrial truck operators

Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire Area Director, said that "These conditions, left uncorrected, expose workers to potential death or serious injury from being caught in operating machinery, struck by powered industrial trucks and electrocuted. The employer must comprehensively address all these hazards to eliminate them and keep workers safe…The sizable fines proposed here reflect the breadth and gravity of the hazards found at this plant as well as the employer's knowledge of and failure to correct some of these conditions."

Here in Massachusetts, the US Postal Service was charged earlier this year with similar citations and $238,000 in fines for electrical hazards at their Shrewsbury mail processing facility, as previously reported in the Altman & Altman's Workers' Compensation Blog.

If you have been injured in the workplace, our experienced lawyers can help. Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice on a workers’ compensation case and a free consultation.

Source:

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Wilton, NH, direct mail printer and distributor for 17 willful and serious safety violations, OSHA Regional News, March 16, 2011

Continue reading "PEP Direct LLC Receives Citations for Electrical and Mechanical Hazards " »

OSHA Produces Guide for New Crane and Derrick Standard

March 10, 2011,

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently released a compliance guide to help small construction businesses adhere to an important new rule for the use and operation of cranes and derricks. The new standard, Cranes and Derricks in Construction, was introduced in August of 2010, and had not been updated since it was first issued in 1971. Since then, there have been a large number of deaths and injuries related to cranes and derricks and also significant technological improvements to the cranes, both of which the new standard aims to address. It is estimated that crane and derrick accidents are the cause of approximately 22 fatalities and 175 injuries per year.

The compliance guide that was released on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, aims to help smaller businesses understand the changes and adhere to the new standard in order to promote a safer work environment for the construction industry. Some of the updated requirements include inspections of crane parts before they are assembled and assessment of ground conditions. The guide also outlines the new requirements which include, but are not limited to:

• Crane operators will need to be officially qualified or certified as of November 10, 2014.
• Clearance distances from power lines and to protect workers against electrocution hazards.
• Use of synthetic slings when climbing tower cranes and other assembly activities, and use of approved riggers, to ensure the structural stability.
• The new standard includes equipment that was not covered or had very few requirements in the prior standard, such as floating cranes.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said "Over the past four decades, we've continued to see a significant number of worker injuries and deaths from electrocution, crushed-by and struck-by hazards while performing cranes and derricks operations...This guide will help employers understand what they must do to protect their workers from these dangerous, sometimes fatal incidents." For the complete guide, visit OSHA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide for Final Rule Cranes and Derricks in Construction.

If you have been injured while working on a construction site or have a question about a case, feel free to contact one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.

Source:

OSHA issues guidance document to help small businesses comply with cranes and derricks rule, OSHA Trade News, March 8, 2011

Continue reading "OSHA Produces Guide for New Crane and Derrick Standard " »

Plainville School Employee Seriously Injures Hand While Clearing Snow

January 13, 2011,

Working alone on Wednesday after the most recent blizzard to hit the East Coast, a Plainville school department employee suffered a serious hand injury while clearing snow at the Jackson School on Route 106. The man stuck his hand in the jammed snowblower to clear an obstruction and, subsequently, got caught in the machine.

A tow truck crew from Achin's Towing in North Attleboro heard the man's screams as they were driving by and stopped to help. The workers applied pressure to his hand to stop the bleeding and called 911, Plainville Fire Chief Ted Joubert said. The victim was treated by Plainville paramedics and was taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence because of the seriousness of the injury.

Fire and hospital officials cautioned residents to take it easy when clearning snow from their driveways and cars. Fire officials also recommended clearing fire hydrants nearby their homes.

Dr. Brian Kelly, assistant chief of ambulatory care at Sturdy Memorial Hospital advised residents to pace themselves while shoveling snow.


Source:
Winter Storm Wallops Area, The Sun Chronicle, January 12, 2011

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18-year-old Golf Course Employee Drowns in Water Hazard

September 9, 2010,

This Friday, an 18-year-old golf course employee drowned while cutting grass at a Massachusetts golf course.

The victim, a college student, was operating a ride-on lawn mower at a Lakeville golf course when he drove into a manmade water hazard.

The worker was pinned by his ride-on lawn mower under approximately five feet of water. The young man was discovered about twenty minutes after being submerged. He was given CPR at the scene of the work accident and was rushed to Morton Hospital and Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

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Yankee Candle Worker Dies After Fall from Forklift

August 30, 2010,

A 24-year-old worker at the Yankee Candle Co. warehouse in Deerfield died after falling from a forklift. The man started his employment at the warehouse only a few months before the accident. He obtained the position through a local temp agency.

The man fell approximately 30 feet from the forklift. The police have stated that the worker may have been standing on a forklift extension at the time of the accident.

According to the local district attorney’s office, following the fall, the employee was taken by ambulance to Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield where he was pronounced dead.

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Massachusetts Man Hospitalized After Bulldozer Accident on the Job

August 5, 2010,

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys have learned that a workplace accident injured a Massachusetts man earlier this week. The accident occurred at a gas pipeline work site when the man lost control of the bulldozer he was operating and it went down a steep embankment with a grade of about 1,800 or 1,900 feet.

The worker was found about 1,100 feet from where the bulldozer initially went out of control and was taken to a local hospital. He was listed in stable condition and his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Police say it’s unclear whether the fall was the result of mechanical failure or operator error. Federal workplace safety investigators plan to look into what caused the bulldozer accident.

Source: LaFayette bulldozer crash sends Mass. man to hospital, Syracuse.com, August 4, 2010

Have you been injured on the job? Our Massachusetts workplace accident attorneys have years of experience and can help ensure that you get the medical attention and compensation to which you are entitled.

Cleaning Man Survives Danvers Machinery Accident

May 25, 2010,

According to The Boston Globe, a cleaning man was hospitalized after he was sucked into a seasoning machine at a sausage-making company in Danvers, Massachusetts. He was reportedly cleaning the vacuum-type machine on Thursday evening when it activated, sucking his head and shoulders into the machine.

A policeman told reporters that the man was freed from the machine and showed no obvious signs of trauma. He was transported to a local hospital as a precaution.

The machinery accident is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Source: Police: Man sucked into sausage seasoning machine, The Boston Globe, May 23, 2010

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New England Fork Lift Accident Traps and Injures Worker

April 2, 2010,

Last week, an industrial accident in Franklin, Connecticut trapped a worker inside the cab of a skid steer after a fork lift reportedly crashed into the skid steer. It took firefighters roughly 50 minutes using cutting tools and hydraulic lifts to free the unidentified man. State police say he was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.

The fork lift accident was reported just after 7pm on Wednesday, March 24. It occurred at a construction site for a cell phone tower near the town's library and fire department.

A state crane inspector and a compliance officer from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the construction accident.

Site: One man injured in construction accident in Franklin, Norwich Bulletin, March 25, 2010

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Amputation Accident at Massachusetts Manufacturer Results in OSHA Citations

December 4, 2009,

A Plainville, Massachusetts manufacturer and packager of medical equipment has received two citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a machinery accident. A worker's finger was pinched by a heat seal bar used to seal plastic bags, and the worker lost the tip of that finger as a result.

When inspectors investigated the plant, they identified three packaging machines that lacked required safeguards to prevent such accidents, exposing workers to amputation and laceration injuries. As a result, OSHA has issued one willful citation for the lack of machine guarding. That citation has a proposed fine of $56,000. In addition, the company received two serious citations for not providing a hazard communication program and training for employees working with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Those citations carry $2,100 in proposed fines.

The company faces $58,100 in total proposed fines.

Source: OSHA cites Mass. manufacturer after amputation accident, ReliablePlant.com, December 2, 2009

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