OSHA investigated a chain of four convenience stores after a clerk at one died as result of injuries she suffered in a robbery. The robber dowsed the 76-year-old woman with a flammable liquid and set her on fire.
On May 20, 2012, Nancy Harris was working alone at the Whip-In convenience store in Garland, Texas.
A robber entered the store, cleaned out the cash register and then set Harris on fire.
After the robber fled, Harris stumbled out of the store, still on fire. Police happened to be passing by. Officers were able to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, and Harris was able to give them a description of the robber before she was taken to a hospital.
She suffered burns over 40% of her body. Harris clung to life for nearly a week before succumbing to her injuries.
Police arrested Matthew Lee Johnson and charged him with capital murder.
Workplace not free of recognized hazards
OSHA conducted investigations at four convenience stores owned by TMT, Inc., in the Dallas area, including the one in Garland.
Each store was cited with violating OSHA’s general duty clause for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death, in this case, workplace violence. The four serious citations total $19,600.
“Handling money, working alone and standing behind open counters leave employees vulnerable to violent crimes,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “If the employer had conducted an analysis to identify risk for violence, implemented appropriate control measures and provided training to ensure awareness of potential violence, it is possible that this tragic loss of life could have been avoided.”
TMT has 15 work days to decide whether to contest the fines.
OSHA defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening and disruptive behavior that occurs at a work site.