The failure of a used auto parts business to follow required workplace safety standards allowed an employee to suffer fatal head injuries, an OSHA investigation found.

The employee was working at John’s Used Autos and Parts LLC in Bellingham, Massachusetts, when he was struck in the head by a chain come-a-long device as he attempted to inflate and mount a multi-piece rim wheel on a vehicle on Oct. 31, 2016.

He died from the injury on Nov. 11.

Inspectors from OSHA’s Braintree Area Office determined the company failed to provide adequate training and safeguards to protect the deceased worker and other employees while they serviced rim wheels.

“This employee’s death was preventable,” says James Mulligan, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.

“Servicing rim wheels such as these is dangerous, exposing employees to struck-by and other hazards. An employer must train workers properly and equip them to do this kind of work safely before they start the job.

“I urge all employers performing this type of work to review their operations and take the required corrective action, so no other workers are killed.”

Employer Violations

Specifically, the employer did not:

  • Train and instruct the employees in correct and safe operating procedures for servicing multi-piece rim wheels
  • Establish safe operating procedures
  • Provide a restraining device for employees to use when inflating tires

The inspection also identified violations concerning lack of exit route signage, personal protective equipment, forklift training, electrical safety, and training about hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Finally, the employer did not notify OSHA of the employee’s death as required.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited John’s Used Autos and Parts for 12 violations of workplace safety standards. Proposed penalties total $27,157.