Central Transport’s Billerica, Massachusetts Shipping Terminal Cited For Hazards
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Central Transport LLC for safety hazards at its freight shipping terminal in Billerica, Massachusetts. OSHA investigators found conditions at the terminal that could lead to Central Transport employees’ being electrocuted, crushed, or injured due to falls. Central Transport had neglected measures it should have taken to protect its workers’ safety. OSHA fined the company a total of $330,800: $242,000 for willful violations, $44,000 for repeat violations, and $44,800 for serious violations.
Company Is Repeat Offender
Particularly egregious, according to OSHA, was the company’s being a repeat offender. It was previously advised of safety hazards but took no measures to remedy them. The most recent safety violations were basically the same ones it was previously given the opportunity to correct at its facilities in Illinois and Mississippi, but it chose not to. These were not minor technical offenses but serious lapses, creating a risk for employees of disability and death. According to OSHA officials, Central Transport has used up its options and must take steps to ensure that its employees have a safe workplace, regardless of location. OSHA is not willing to stand by and permit the company to continue its past practice of failing its employees by neglecting their health and safety.
$242,000 In Fines For Willful Safety Violations
In Central Transport’s Billerica shipping terminal, an electrocution hazard was created when the building’s roof leaked water and created pools on the floor, the location of electrified cabinets and chargers for forklift batteries. Employees who stood in water could be shocked if they plugged in battery chargers. They could also fall and be injured when driving forklifts, due to the slick surfaces in the part of the terminal where the roof was leaking. The forklifts themselves were defective, since they were not repaired when they developed mechanical problems but were just driven until they stopped working entirely. Workers could be struck or crushed by the unreliable forklifts. OSHA cited Central Transport for four willful safety violations, carrying $242,000 in fines. For a violation to be characterized as willful, the employer must have demonstrated intent, knowledge, and that it acted voluntarily in ignoring the law’s requirements, or showed indifference to worker safety and health.
$44,000 In Fines For Repeat Violations; $44,800 For Serious Violations
Two repeat violations, with $44,000 in fines, were issued by OSHA for hazards similar to those for which Central Transport was cited in 2012 at its facilities in Hillside, Illinois, and Pearl, Mississippi. The repeat violations in Massachusetts involved materials that were stacked in such a way that they could fall and crush workers in their vicinity. The company also failed to advise employees about dangerous chemicals and the necessary precautions to be taken when working around them. A repeat violation is one where the employer has already been cited within the previous five years on another occasion or in another location for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule, or order.
OSHA also assessed a total of $44,800 in fines for eight serious violations, related to the company’s failure to train workers in forklift operation and test their abilities, the practice of leaving forklifts running without supervision, and for not having fire extinguishers in areas where they could be needed, as well as other hazards involving potential falls and electrical safety breaches. An employer commits a serious violation when it knows or has the opportunity to know of the likelihood that an employee could die or be severely injured because of a safety violation.
If you have become ill or been injured at work, contact a Boston workers’ compensation attorney from Pulgini & Norton to schedule a free consultation to find out more about what our lawyers can accomplish for you. Contact us with a brief description of your situation or reach us by phone at our Downtown Boston, Hyde Park, or Braintree, Massachusetts office locations.