A fire in which an employee was badly burned at Monro Muffler Brake Inc. in Hyannis on February 2nd prompted an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has since charged Monro Muffler Brake Inc., a company from Rochester, N.Y., for 10 alleged violations of workplace safety and $184,000 in proposed fines.
The fire began after a spark from an acetylene torch caught fire to an open container of gasoline. OSHA’s inspection revealed that the fire hazards which workers were exposed to included the open container of gasoline, combustibles within the area where the acetylene torch was being used, an unsafe light fixture in a hazardous location and an overall employee lack of training for fire extinguishers. In addition to these fire hazards, employees were found to be smoking inside the perimeter of the automobile service area where fuels were being drained and where auto parts with fuel were being replaced. OSHA also found that there was not enough lighting in the work area, there were exposed electrical wires, they did not have an eye flushing station or protective eye gear, and their employees lacked safety information about the types of chemicals in use at the workplace.
Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts, said, “This is exactly the type of incident and injury that results when an employer fails to comply with common-sense and legally required safeguards for workers…To prevent such occurrences and protect the safety and health of its workers, the employer must ensure that safety and health requirements are met and maintained at all times at all of its locations.”
The Massachusetts work injuries of Altman and Altman have decades of experience in dealing with injuries caused in the workplace as a result of OSHA violations. These cases can sometimes become quite complex, we have access to the finest experts in the commonwealth, and often times have to use them on cases like this.
Monro Muffler Brake was fined a $70,000 fee and charged with one willful violation for the fire hazard of smoking. OSHA issues a willful violation if the employer has “voluntary disregard” for the law’s requirements or for their workers´ safety and health. They were also issued three repeat violations and $80,000 in fines for the lack of fire extinguisher training, the lack of chemical and eye guards. OSHA issues a repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or similar violation within the past five years. In 2009 and 2010 the company was cited for similar safety hazards at their locations in Victor, N.Y., and Norwich, Conn., locations. For the remainder of the safety hazards found during their investigation, OSHA fined the company $34,000 and issued six serious violations. A serious violation is issued if it is likely that an employee could die or experience serious harm from a safety hazard which the employer knew about or should have known about.
If you have been injured in a Massachusetts workplace, it is generally the best advice that you contact an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer. Our attorneys have decades in handling workers compensation cases along with any third party component of the case. If you are not sure what to do about your case, give us a call for a free consultation.
US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Monro Muffler Brake after worker injured in fire at Hyannis, Mass., location; proposed fines total $184,000, OSHA Regional News Release, August 1, 2011
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