It pays to settle safety disputes with employees. Otherwise, they may file a report with OSHA and prompt an inspection. This story involves a difference of opinion over personal protective equipment.
OSHA issued three citations against the town of Southbury, CT, over a dispute involving boots.
Deputy Fire Marshal Russ Tolles had ordered safety boots, a requirement for his job because they protect against hazards involving sharp objects, fluids and fire.
Southbury’s First Selectman, H. William Davis Jr., canceled the order, believing Tolles was about to take a position that didn’t require the safety boots.
Tolles turned down that position because it involved third-shift work.
When Tolles went to pick up his boots, he was told the order for the $100 shoes had been canceled.
Southbury Fire Marshal Henry Stormer complained to the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
“Who are all these people getting involved in an issue that a department head should handle? There’s a reason why you have people with certain certifications and experiences making these decisions,” Stormer said, as quoted by the Republican American.
After an inspection, OSHA issued these citations for failure to:
- assess the workplace to determine if hazards were present, or were likely to be present, which necessitate the proper selection and use of PPE
- verify that the required workplace hazard assessment for PPE had been performed through a written certification, and
- provide training to each employee required to use PPE.
No fine was attached to the violations, but the town has to correct the violations by Oct. 25.