Massachusetts Company Faces Nearly $300,000 Penalty for Serious Hazards After Temporary Worker Suffers Injuries

The Health and Safety Act of 1970 makes clear that employers must provide all workers a safe place to work, free from potential hazards.  In a recent press release, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that a Massachusetts company did not notify the agency, as was required, that a worker was hospitalized after suffering a serious injury.  This serious safety and health hazard was compounded by the fact that the employer also failed to notify emergency medical services promptly after the Massachusetts work injury.

This particular packaging company is responsible for filling, packaging, and shipping aerosol containers.  The injured worker had been working on a production line, and a gas head on this line directs chemicals into the aerosol cans. As a temporary worker, he was not sufficiently trained. At the time of the serious injury, the worker was cleaning a gas head. Unexpectedly, the production line activated.  The result was devastating – a gas head needle pierced the worker’s’ finger, injecting him with a propellant gas that then inflated his arm.

OSHA’s investigation revealed that company managers had not contacted 911 immediately.  The hurt worker was taken in a private vehicle for medical treatment and was hospitalized.  The OSHA area director for central and western Massachusetts made clear that according to law, employers should immediately contact 911 following an employee injury.  In this case, by delaying contact, the worker was exposed to additional bodily harm and potentially permanent, disabling injuries.

An inspection of the packaging company began after OSHA received a complaint.  The inspection revealed other hazards, both new and recurring.  Some of these hazards exposed workers to amputations, hearing loss, crushing injuries, and being unable to safely exit the plant in an emergency.   Due to all of these hazards, OSHA cited the company for serious and repeat violations of workplace health and safety standards.  Currently, the company faces proposed penalties in the amount of $295,967.

Inspectors expanded their investigation so that it included temporary staffing agencies, since they supply a large percentage of workers to this packaging company.  Two staffing agencies were cited by OSHA for failing to require training for employees who had suffered exposure to high noise levels and for failing to provide training about working with hazardous chemicals.

Again, the regional OSHA director stated that using temporary workers from staffing agencies does not relieve an employer from complying with OSHA requirements.  Additionally, the staffing agency is responsible for the safe work environment of its workers.

In this press release, it is clear that an employer failed to protect its workers from known hazards and then failed to provide an appropriate response after an accident. Since all workers are entitled to a safe workplace, Massachusetts law provides employees the right to pursue workers’ compensation from their employer.  The workers’ compensation lawyers at Pulgini & Norton can help if you or a loved one has been hurt in a worksite accident. We provide a free consultation and can be reached by calling (781) 843-2000 or online.

More Blog Posts:

Gutter Firm Cited by OSHA for Repeat Violations After Massachusetts Worker Falls and Suffers Severe Injuries, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2017

After Three Workers Fall At Massachusetts Worksite, OSHA Administrative Law Judge Holds Both Contractor and Subcontractor Responsible as Single Employer, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2017

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