Employees at the Central Transport LLC freight-shipping terminal in Billerica were exposed to numerous hazardous conditions including potential electrocution, falls, crushing and other injuries. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the workers’ employer knowingly and repeatedly disregarded basic worker safeguards to prevent such injuries from occurring; the company now face $330,800 in fines for those hazards.
According to a press release published by OSHA last week, OSHA’s acting deputy regional administrator for New England Jeffrey A. Erskine said, “several hazards were brought to management’s attention, but the company took no corrective action, while other conditions were strikingly similar to violations for which Central Transport was previously cited at its locations in Illinois and Mississippi. The cited conditions put employees at risk of deadly or disabling injuries.”
An inspection revealed that the company’s building leaked water on to the work floor where electrical cabinets and forklift battery chargers were located; employees were forced to stand in water while plugging in the battery chargers and drove forklifts on slippery surfaces. These conditions ultimately exposed individuals to possible electrocution, as well as forklift tip-overs and slipping hazards.
Additionally, OSHA investigators found that workers were exposed to fall hazards from the loading dock entrance ramp, which was lacking required safety guardrails. Finally, inspectors found workers faced potential crushing or struck-by injuries from defective forklifts that were not removed from service. OSHA alleged that the company had ample knowledge of all of these hazards and did not address any of the conditions. Thus, OSHA fined Central Transport for 4 willful violations, which carry $242,000 in fines, as well as two repeat violations totaling $44,000 in fines (for unstable and insecure stacking of materials and failure to inform employees of the dangers associated with hazardous chemicals) and 8 serious violations carrying $44,800 in fines (for inadequately evaluating workers’ abilities to operate forklifts; unattended forklifts; lack of fire extinguishers; and tripping and electrical hazards).
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 states that employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. When employers fail to ensure their employees’ safety and someone is injured as a result, the employer becomes responsible.
Experiencing any type of workplace injury can be a life-altering event and may not only inhibit you from returning to work, but cause emotional and physical duress that may prevent you from returning to a normal life. If you or someone you love was a victim of a workplace injury, call or email the law office of Altman & Altman to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Massachusetts Worker Compensation Lawyers. For nearly 50 years, we have been helping clients recover workers’ compensation benefits, lost wages, medical expenses, and compensation for emotional pain and suffering due to an injury they sustained on the job. Our attorneys are available around the clock to assist you through each and every part of your case and to answer any and all of your questions.
Read the full report here.