Death at Weymouth, Mass., Workplace Leads to OSHA Citations

Allied Building Products Corp., doing business as John J. Gallagher, faces $47,000 in proposed fines from OSHA following the investigation of a workplace fatality.

The building-products supplier was cited for two alleged serious and two alleged repeat violations of safety standards for the use of forklifts following the March 17 death of a worker who was crushed between a load of drywall on a forklift truck and a stack of drywall boards at 1500 Main St. in Weymouth, Mass.

OSHA's investigation found that the forklift truck's brakes were not set to prevent its movement, and several employees who operated forklift trucks were not trained to safely operate the vehicles.

Two serious citations carrying $12,000 in proposed penalties were issued for these conditions. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two repeat citations carrying $35,000 in fines were issued for failure to daily inspect forklift trucks and for failure to identify any defects and to remove a defective forklift truck from service. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar hazard in the past and that citation has become final. Allied Building Products was cited in March 2005 for similar hazards at a Hicksville, N.Y., workplace.

"The OSHA standard governing forklift trucks is specific and stringent," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "It requires that employees be effectively trained and equipment be inspected and kept in proper working order. Failure to ensure these safeguards leaves employees vulnerable to accidents such as this one."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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