Massachusetts Car Auction House Settles OSHA Case

A May 2017 crash killed five workers at the weekly car auction in Billerica, Mass. Lynnway Auto Auction Inc. has agreed to correct hazards, implement significant safety measures, and pay $200,000 in penalties.

Two companies, an auto auction company and a temporary staffing company, have agreed to settlements that resolve an OSHA enforcement case stemming from a crash that killed five workers during an auction in Billerica, Mass., in May 2017. Lynnway Auto Auction Inc., located in Billerica, has agreed to correct hazards, implement significant safety measures, and pay $200,000 in penalties. TrueBlue Inc., doing business as PeopleReady, which supplied temporary employees to Lynnway, also agreed to correct hazards, implement a traffic control program, and pay a $12,675 penalty. OSHA cited the staffing firm for exposing employees to struck-by hazards.

OSHA originally penalized Lynnway $267,081 and cited it for 16 violations following the crash of a 2006 Jeep Cherokee at the weekly auction. Local news reports indicated the vehicle went out of control and struck a crowd of people, then hit the Lynnway building. The driver was a man in his 70s whose license was suspended at the time, according to a report.

OSHA reported that the Lynnway settlement became a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on April 5, 2018, and the TrueBlue settlement agreement became final on March 5, 2018. OSHA's Andover Area Office conducted the inspections, with Senior Trial Attorney James Glickman of the Boston regional solicitor's office litigating the cases for OSHA.

Lynnway has agreed in the settlement to designate and mark non-driving locations, walkways, and crosswalks; post and enforce speed limits throughout its premises; ensure all auction management and workers directing auction lane traffic wear high-visibility vests in all traffic areas on the premises; conduct weekly driver safety meetings before each weekly auction; review all accidents and near misses involving struck-by and crushing hazards; and periodically evaluate employees' driving capabilities and licenses. "The settlement commits Lynnway to correct existing hazards, and requires it to take continuous action to help prevent future employee injuries or fatalities," said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton.

"The processes put into place by this agreement have the goal of ensuring that such needless loss of lives will not occur again," Regional Solicitor of Labor Michael Felsen said.

Trueblue Inc. agreed in its settlement to develop and implement a safe driving program for all PeopleReady auction drivers; to ensure that all PeopleReady employees provided to the host employer demonstrate proficient knowledge of the auction safety rules and driver safety procedures; and provide training at lesat annually, plus retraining whenever deficiencies or non-compliance with safety products are found.

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