For several years, OSHA inspections identified a disturbing pattern of forklift safety issues involving powered industrial trucks being used to move, handle, load, and unload freight in at least 11 Central Transport LLC shipping terminals in nine states.
Forklift use exposed employees to hazards that could cause crushing or struck-by injuries at multiple locations, including Central Transport's Billerica, Mass., terminal.
In Connecticut, Central Transport operates facilities in Cheshire and East Windsor.
OSHA filed a complaint with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in 2015, seeking an order to require Central Transport to remove damaged, defective, and unsafe forklifts and other powered industrial trucks from service at all the company's locations.
Now, the department has secured a settlement agreement which commits the company to improving forklift safety at over 100 terminals in 26 states.
"These widespread, recurring hazards required a comprehensive solution," says Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
"This settlement includes detailed steps and a timetable for Central Transport to systematically review, assess, and improve safety for its employees at all its locations that come under OSHA's jurisdiction.
Safety cannot be addressed in a piecemeal fashion when employees are exposed to hazards at multiple company worksites.
"We stated when we filed the complaint that safety cannot be addressed in a piecemeal fashion when employees are exposed to hazards at multiple company worksites,” says Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor of labor in Boston.
“With this settlement, Central Transport has committed to taking proactive, ongoing, and effective action to identify and eliminate these hazards and improve safety for its workers across the country."
What the Company Must Do
The agreement requires Central Transport to hire an independent third-party monitor to evaluate, update, and improve the company's existing procedures for preventive maintenance repairs, operator inspections, and safe operation of powered industrial trucks.
Central Transport must also:
- Assign a corporate internal monitor to facilitate effective implementation of the settlement agreement and conduct random, unannounced visits of at least 20 terminals. The company must then work with the third-party monitor to prepare and submit reports for each terminal assessed.
- Work with the third-party monitor to assess and monitor compliance with the agreement and seek feedback from employees. This will include unannounced monitoring visits of at least 10 terminals by the third-party monitor, including two terminals assessed by the internal monitor.
- Submit written compliance reports to OSHA and allow OSHA to conduct monitoring inspections to measure compliance.
- Remove any damaged, defective, and unsafe powered industrial trucks from service.
- Pay a total of $165,400 in penalties.
The settlement covers Central Transport terminals in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
OSHA will notify those states that have assumed authority for enforcing OSHA standards in which Central Transport has terminals and encourage them to honor or agree to the terms of this settlement.
Register now for CBIA's Powered Industrial Truck Train-the-Trainer workshop, Thursday, May 4, 2017, in Windsor.