The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the United States Postal Service following an investigation to the heat-related death of a veteran postal worker last July.
James Baldassarre of Haverhill collapsed while delivering mail on his route through Medford on July 5. He had spent nearly five hours in 94-degree heat carrying a bag weighing 35 pounds. He died the following day as the result of a heat stroke.
The day that he collapsed, the National Weather Service had issued a heat advisory for the area that Baldassarre was working in.
After an internal investigation, OSHA determined that the Postal Service exposed workers to the recognized hazard of working in excessive heat and had failed to implement a stress management program to help mail carriers identify, prevent, and report symptoms of heat-related illness.
While the U.S. Postal Service issued a statement sending condolences to Baldassarre’s family members and friends, OSHA cited the company with a proposed fine of $7,000, the maximum fine that can be assessed for a serious violation. Since the death of the postal worker, the Postal Service reported it had developed and implemented a heat stress program, including the use of posters, stand-up talks for employees and supervisors, videos, multimedia slides, messages and handheld scanners, employee newsletter articles, and heat-stress guidance for all employees of the Postal Service.
Under Massachusetts laws and OSHA regulations, employers are responsible for ensuring they provide the safest workplaces and conditions for their employees. Those who fail to maintain safe work practices may be subject to legal liability. Workers’ compensation law in Massachusetts is supposed to guarantee benefits to workers who are hurt on the job, even if it was the worker who caused the accident. Workers’ compensation benefits include coverage of medical costs, disability payments, 60% of your average income, compensation for permanent injuries, vocational retraining, and death benefits for immediate family members if the worker was killed on the job. However receiving these benefits is not always easy.
If you or someone you love was injured while at work, call one of the experienced Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman to discuss filing a potential workers’ compensation claim. Our lawyers have nearly 50 years of experience with workers’ compensation laws in Massachusetts, and we have the resources to help you achieve the highest possible settlement for your case. We are available around the clock to answer any questions you have about your case and all initial consultations are completely free and confidential.