OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 USDL 04-154-BOS /BOS 2004-034
Monday, February 23, 2004
Contact: : John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075
METHUEN, Mass. -- A Tewksbury, Mass., grocery chain's repeated failure to protect its warehouse workers against forklift hazards has resulted in $72,500 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
DeMoulas Market Basket Inc. has been cited for alleged repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its 875 East St. warehouse. OSHA began its inspection on Aug. 11, after learning of a collision between a forklift and a powered jack that injured a worker.
OSHA's inspection found that the company failed to provide required refresher training to forklift operators involved in accidents, did not ensure that operators slowed their vehicles and sounded their warning horns whenever their vision was obstructed or they came to a cross-aisle, failed to maintain a forklift's brakes in safe operating condition and did not inspect said forklift for defects prior to operation.
Because OSHA had cited DeMoulas for similar hazards in Oct. 2001, three repeat citations, carrying $67,500 in fines, were issued for these latest violations. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard and the citation has become final.
The company was also issued two serious citations for failing to evaluate each forklift operator's performance at least once every three years and for failing to supply personal protective equipment to workers. An additional $5,000 in fines is proposed for these items. OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
"Forklifts pose serious hazards to workers if they are not properly maintained and if their operators are not effectively trained," said Richard Fazzio, OSHA's area director for northeastern Massachusetts. "The sizable fines in this case reflect this employer's repeated failure to maintain the required safeguards."
DeMoulas Market Basket, Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the OSHA's Methuen area office. The telephone number is (617) 565-8110.
The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections in fiscal year 2003, an increase of more than 2,000 inspections over FY 2002. OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting the health and safety of America's workers. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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