Steel fabrication plant Boston Bridge & Steel Inc., was cited by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety Health Organization following a worker’s death late last year.
The 46-year-old man who worked at the steel fabrication plant died when a 6-ton steel bridge arch beam that he was spray painting fell and crushed him. An investigation by OSHA found that Boston Bridge & Steel Inc. exposed its workers to hazardous situations including failing to ensure that the fallen beam and three other similar beams were adequately braced or supported to prevent them from falling while being painted.
“This death should not have happened-and would not have happened-if these beams had been properly secured,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “An incident such as this, and the incalculable loss of life that results, can be prevented only if employers provide and maintain effective safeguards for their workers.”
The employees, who were cleaning and spray-painting the beams, were also not equipped with adequate respiratory protection against vapors generated during the spray painting, according to a press release by OSHA. In addition, workers who wore half-face respirators had not been evaluated to determine their medical fitness to use respirators and had not been supplied with the correct respirator filters. Investigators also determined that employees had not been informed or trained about the hazards associated with chemicals used during spray painting.
Additional hazards found by OSHA officials included flying debris from an unguarded grinder and the use of a cleaning hose with excess air pressure; flash burns due to missing screens where welding was performed; electric shock and fire hazards from misused electrical cords and missing electrical knockouts; falls from a damaged access ladder; and slips and trips from accumulated ice and snow on an emergency exit route, according to OSHA.
In total, the company was cited for 13 serious violations for these conditions. Totaling more than $72 thousand in fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. OSHA officials also issued repeat violations for conditions similar to those cited during 2010 and 2011 inspections, when the plant was known as Tuckerman Steel Fabrication Inc. These included fall hazards from an unguarded crane access platform and electrical hazards from running a flexible power cord through the wall to power equipment located outside the building.
By OSHA standards, employers are responsible for ensuring safe work environments for all of his or her employees and preventing hazardous situations that pose the threat of serious bodily injury or death.
When an individual is injured or killed on the job, by law the employer must report the incident to OSHA for a complete investigation. Additionally in Massachusetts, when a worker suffers a workplace injury, he or she is supposed to be covered by Workers’ Compensation Benefits. These benefits are supposed to guarantee a worker and his or her family compensation for medical bills, disability payments and lost wages, as well as compensation for permanent injuries, disfigurement, or scars. Acquiring these benefits can sometimes be challenging, and it is most advised that you speak to a licensed Workers’ Compensation Attorney to discuss your options after you have been involved in a workplace incident.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, our team of experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys has 50 years of experience handling workers’ compensation and work injury cases. We will thoroughly investigate your work injury case and examine all avenues of recovery for you, including helping you access the finest healthcare available in the Commonwealth. Additionally, we will determine whether other parties are liable for your injury, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment or a negligent contractor, and we can file claims or lawsuits against all negligent parties so that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one was the victim of a workplace injury, do not hesitate to call one of the seasoned attorneys at Altman & Altman. Our attorneys are available around the clock to assist you and all initial consultations are free and confidential.