A worker at a grocery store fell 11 feet onto a concrete floor and suffered broken bones and head trauma. Instead of calling 911, store management lifted the worker into a wheelchair and pushed him to a dock to wait for a relative to take him to the hospital.
The incident led OSHA to inspect the Market Basket store in Rindge, NH, as well as a co-owned store in Concord, NH. Result: $589,200 in fines, partly because OSHA had previously discovered similar violations at other stores in the Market Basket chain.
OSHA says the employee fell from an inadequately guarded storage loft.
After an OSHA supervisor observed the same type of fall hazard at the Concord store, the investigation spread to the second location.
According to OSHA, employees at both stores were exposed to falls from heights greater than 11 feet while working on top of produce coolers, freezers and storage lofts that lacked adequate guardrails. OSHA had cited Market Basket for the same hazard at three other stores.
Employees in the produce, deli and bakery departments were also exposed to laceration hazards from knives because of lack of hand protection.
- 4 willful violations with $261,000 in penalties for fall and laceration hazards
- 7 repeat violations with $225,500 in fines for a variety of other hazards including ones that could lead to amputations, and
- 19 serious citations with $102,700 in penalties for several other types of violations, including one under OSHA’s general duty clause for failing to contact emergency services and for moving the injured employee (click here and here for other recent examples of OSHA’s use of the GDC).
Market Basket had corrected individual hazards in three other stores, but it didn’t fix them across the board, according to OSHA.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to decide whether to contest them.
What do you think about any company that wouldn’t call 911 for an employee who fell at work and suffered broken bones and/or head trauma? Let us know what you think in the comments below.