Mass. Muffler Firm Faces $184,000 in Fines Following Worker's Burning

OSHA's inspection found employees exposed to fire hazards from the open container of gasoline, combustibles allowed in the work area when the acetylene torch was being used, an unapproved light fixture in a hazardous location, and a lack of training in fire extinguisher use for employees.

OSHA has cited Monro Muffler Brake Inc. for 10 alleged violations of workplace safety standards after an employee was burned in a Feb. 2 fire at the company's Hyannis, Mass., location when a spark from an acetylene torch ignited an open container of gasoline. The Rochester, N.Y.-based automotive service company faces a total of $184,000 in proposed fines.

"This is exactly the type of incident and injury that results when an employer fails to comply with common-sense and legally required safeguards for workers," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "To prevent such occurrences and protect the safety and health of its workers, the employer must ensure that safety and health requirements are met and maintained at all times at all of its locations."

OSHA's inspection found employees exposed to fire hazards from the open container of gasoline, combustibles allowed in the work area when the acetylene torch was being used, an unapproved light fixture in a hazardous location, and a lack of training in fire extinguisher use for employees. An additional significant fire hazard stemmed from employees smoking in the auto service area where combustible fuels are drained, and where fuel system components that may leak combustible fuel are removed and replaced.

OSHA also identified several other hazardous conditions at the Hyannis location, including inadequate lighting for work areas, lack of eye flushing facilities, exposed electrical openings, lack of eye protection, and failure to inform all employees of the hazards of chemicals in their workplaces.

Monro Muffler Brake was cited for one willful violation with a $70,000 fine for the fire hazard caused by smoking; three repeat violations with $80,000 in fines for the fire extinguisher, chemical and eye protection hazards; and six serious violations with $34,000 in fines for the remaining items.

The repeat citations stem from violations cited in 2009 and 2010 for similar hazards at Victor, N.Y., and Norwich, Conn., locations.

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