Friday, November 4, 2011

Somerville MBTA Facility Cited with 'Serious' Workplace Safety Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has imposed $130,800 in fines for 22 alleged workplace safety violations.

Saying workers were exposed to potential electric shocks, chemical burns, amputation and bloodborne pathogens, to name a few things, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has cited the Commuter Rail maintenance facility in Somerville with 22 alleged "serious" violations of workplace safety.

The Commuter Rail maintenance facility is located in the Inner Belt area of East Somerville, between McGrath Highway and Interstate 93, near the border of Cambridge and Charlestown.

According to a press release sent by the U.S. Department of Labor, of which OSHA is a part, the safety administration "found employees in the facility's diesel, carpentry, truck, pipe and coach shops exposed to potential electric shocks, electrocution, fires, falls, chemical burns, lacerations, amputations and bloodboarne pathogens, as well as to injuries from crushing, slipping and tripping hazards."

The proposed fines for these violations is $130,800, and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad has 15 days from the receipt of the citations to pay the fines or contest the violations, according to the citations. The citations are dated Oct. 18.

The citations list a number of alleged violations, including the following:

•Workers who clean commuter train cars are exposed to potential bloodboarne pathogens and were not offered the hepatitis B vaccination.
•An exit was partially blocked with flammables storage cabinet and shelving.
•"Employees were exposed to electrical shock, electrocution and fire hazards when working on energized electrical parts without proper personal protective equipment such as voltage rated gloves and appropriate fire resistant clothing."
Read the citations here and here.

A number of the alleged violations seem similar to the sorts of risks do-it-yourselfers expose themselves to during weekend projects around the home: using improperly adjusted saw-blade guards, using extension cords with missing ground pins and plugging things into electrical outlets without faceplates, to name a few hazards.

Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad statement
MBCR treats safety with the utmost seriousness. The company trains every engineer, conductor, and mechanic to make safety his or her top priority. This approach has resulted in significant improvements in workplace safety, as shown by the company’s reduction of workplace injuries by 58% in the past year. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), MBCR has the second lowest rate of workplace injury in the passenger railroad industry.

MBCR has worked cooperatively and collaboratively with OSHA over the past six months to address all safety and workplace concerns. In that period, MBCR has abated or is in the process of addressing all of the issues identified by OSHA. The company will continue to work closely with OSHA and the FRA to ensure the highest possible level of safety for employees and customers.

1 comment:

  1. Companies not knowing all the standards and guidelines that OSHA has set, is that one of the reasons why a lot still have thousand of dollars worth of violations for OSHA or a lot of companies just don't want to follow those guidelines and standards?