Unsafe workplace leads to firefighter fatalities
Two Boston firefighters lost their lives because a company failed to follow safety precautions, according to fire officials and OSHA.
An investigation into the March 26, 2014 fire at D & J Ironworks found that owners Guiseppe Falcone and Daniele Falcone failed to follow safety precautions by allowing employees to install railings using arc welding equipment during high wind conditions. Fire officials said sparks from welding railings ignited clapboards on an adjacent shed, which led to the fire.
Lt. Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy died in the blaze in Boston's Back Bay neighbourhood
"OSHA found that the company lacked an effective fire prevention and protection program, failed to train its employees in fire safety, did not have a fire watch present and did not move the railing to another location where the welding could be performed safely," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.
The company also failed to protect its employees against respiratory and chemical hazards associated with welding, cutting, drilling and painting operations. It failed to evaluate employees' medical fitness to wear respirators or train employees how to clean, store and maintain respirators; evaluate respiratory hazards for workers; inform employees of chemical hazards associated with welding and how to address them; and maintain safety data sheets on hazardous chemicals.
OSHA cited D & J Ironworks for 10 serious violations of workplace safety standards. The citations can be viewed here*.
D & J Ironworks faces $58,000 in fines.