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A New England supermarket chain will pay $400,000 in fines, hire a full-time safety officer and make other improvements in a settlement with OSHA. The agency said the company failed to protect and train its employees.
OSHA had fined Market Basket $589,200 after inspections at its stores in Rindge and Concord, NH. The amount the company has agreed to pay reflects a 32% reduction in the original fines. The case gained attention after reports that management at the Rindge store had taken an injured worker who fell 11 feet onto a concrete floor, put him in a wheelchair and left him on a receiving dock to wait for a relative to take him to the hospital.
Market Basket was fined for:
- exposing workers to fall hazards from unguarded, open-sided work and storage areas, including lofts and the tops of produce coolers and freezers, and
- failing to protect employees in the produce, deli and bakery departments from cut hazards from knives and other instruments by not conducting job hazard analyses that would have identified the need for hand protection. In 2006, after being cited by OSHA, Market Basket had agreed to complete job hazard analyses in all its stores but failed to do so.
In a four-year period, employees at two Market Basket stores sustained at least 40 recorded hand lacerations.
Under the settlement, the grocery chain has agreed to establish:
- a written safety and health program for each workplace as well as a system to identify hazards
- a written disciplinary program for all employees, including managers
- a safety and health liaison for each supermarket department
- formal safety and health training for all new employees and yearly training for all employees, and
- annual performance reviews for store and department managers that include a safety and health evaluation.