Boston, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) - Monro Muffler Brake Inc., which operates a chain of more than 800 stores that provide automotive repair and tire services throughout the eastern United States, has reached an enterprisewide settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor in which it will institute procedures to protect its workers against being crushed or struck by automotive hydraulic lifts.
In September 2011, the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company's Stoughton location for improperly inspecting and maintaining hydraulic lifts, as well as other hazards, following an April 2011 incident in which a lift failure caused a car to fall to the ground. Deficiencies exposed service center employees to being struck or crushed if the lifts failed. Monro initially contested these citations carrying proposed fines of $19,000 but now has agreed to address the issue – and not just at the Stoughton location but companywide.
"What's important about this agreement is its multiplier effect," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's regional administrator in Boston. "It will enhance safety for Monro employees at service centers in multiple states. That means safer working conditions for thousands of workers at hundreds of workplaces."
Under the agreement, which was negotiated by the department's regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston, Monro will develop and implement an inspection and maintenance program for all automotive lifts at all of its federal OSHA-covered work sites. The program will comply with industry standards and include periodic inspections by qualified inspectors, procedures to remedy any potentially unsafe conditions, mandatory training for lift operators and the submission of written compliance reports to OSHA. Monro also will pay a fine of $12,500 for the violations identified at the Stoughton location. Trial Attorney Scott Miller negotiated the settlement on behalf of the department.
"This settlement agreement replaces potentially lengthy and contentious litigation with a mutual respect for and commitment to worker safety," said Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor for New England. "We encourage other employers to take similar steps to eliminate hazards and safeguard their workers in a broad, systemic and effective manner."
The Stoughton inspection was conducted by OSHA's Braintree Area Office. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or, in southeastern Massachusetts, the agency's Braintree office at 617-565-6924.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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