Department of Labor Logo
OSHA News Release
Region 1

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

January 17, 2017 BOS 2017-010

OSHA: Employee's death at Bellingham auto parts business 'preventable'

Agency calls on employers to provide multi-piece tires and rims training, safeguards

BRAINTREE, Mass. - A Bellingham used auto parts business' failure to follow required workplace safety standards allowed an employee to suffer fatal head injuries, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.

The employee was working at John's Used Autos and Parts LLC when he was struck in the head by a chain come-a-long device as he attempted to inflate and mount a multi-piece rim wheel on a vehicle on Oct. 31, 2016. He later died on Nov. 11. Inspectors from the agency's Braintree Area Office determined that the company failed to provide adequate training and safeguards to protect the deceased worker and other employees while they serviced rim wheels.

"This employee's death was preventable. Servicing rim wheels such as these is dangerous, exposing employees to struck-by and other hazards. An employer must train workers properly and equip them to do this kind of work safely before they start the job. I urge all employers performing this type of work to review their operations and take the required corrective action, so no other workers are killed," said James Mulligan, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.

Specifically, the employer did not:

  • Train and instruct the employees in correct and safe operating procedures for servicing multi-piece rim wheels.
  • Establish safe operating procedures.
  • Provide a restraining device for employees to use when inflating the tire.

The inspection also identified violations concerning lack of exit route signage, personal protective equipment, forklift training, electrical safety and training about hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Finally, the employer did not notify OSHA of the employee's death as required.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited John's Used Autos and Parts for 12 violations of workplace safety standards. Proposed penalties total $27,157. View the citations here.

John's Used Autos and Parts has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice on health and safety solutions to small and medium-sized employers with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site consultation services exist in every state, and they are independent from OSHA's enforcement efforts. Program consultants, employed by state agencies or universities, work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management systems. Locate your state's program.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or OSHA's Braintree Area Office at 617-565-6924.

# # #

Media Contacts:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075,
James C. Lally, 617-565-2074,

Release Number: 17-48-BOS

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).