UPS Faces Over $400K Penalty For Safety Violations

Toni Sutton-Deangelico

Braintree, MA (WorkersCompensation.com)- United Parcel Service Inc. has been cited by OSHA following allegations of exposing employees to numerous hazards, including fire and electrical dangers, at the delivery facility located in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The company faces $431,517 in penalties.

During the inspections conducted between May 7 and July 23, 2019, OSHA officials said they found several violations. According to the Report of Citations released by the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 11 violations that range from serious to repeat offenses.

Even though OSHA has never fined the Vineyard Haven UPS processing facility, the company itself has previously received citations at plants elsewhere in the country.

Among the Serious Violations are:

  • Failure to keep all places of employment, passageways, storerooms, service rooms, and walking-working surfaces in a clean, orderly, and sanitary condition.
  • The employer did not ensure that all fire extinguishers were maintained and readily accessible.
  • The employer did not make sure to provide protection from falls and falling objects.
  • UPS had non-illuminated exit signs, improper signage, as well as a lack of stair rails at two entrances to the facility
  • General disorder in the men’s locker room and server room, including “unsteady, and large, heavy” stacks of boxes adjacent to the lockers, blocked passageways, no access to cooling fans and exposure to 12 “mercury laden” fluorescent light bulbs that were “leaning against a wall.”

Repeat Violations include:

  • An exit access must be at least 28 inches (71.1 cm) wide at all points. Where there is only one exit access leading to an exit or exit discharge, the width of the exit and exit discharge must be at least equal to the width of the exit access, and during the inspection the employer failed to comply with this rule.
  • Exit routes must be free and unobstructed. No materials or equipment may be placed, either permanently or temporarily, within the exit route. The exit access must not go through a room that can be locked, such as a bathroom, to reach an exit or exit discharge, nor may it lead into a dead-end corridor. Stairs or a ramp must be provided where the exit route is not substantially level. During the inspection there were five instances of obstructions to exit doors.

WorkersCompensation.com reached out to the agency and was referred to the press release that had been issued. “The hazardous conditions at this UPS facility can impede a worker’s ability to promptly exit in an emergency, placing them at risk for serious or fatal injuries. Employers are required by law to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces,” said James Mulligan, OSHA Braintree area director

In the same press release Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweat, declared “Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and develop comprehensive safety and health programs to adequately protect workers.”

“Our employees’ safety is UPS’s first priority,” said USP spokesman Mathew O’Connor in a press release issued in response to the allegations. “The alleged violations were reported after the inspection of a single facility in Massachusetts in May 2019. After reviewing the allegations, we have contested all of the findings.”

The Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission will assign the case to an administrative law judge. The parties will then decide to either hold a public hearing, which will have all the elements of a formal trial, or settle the case outside of court.

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