Welding company exposed employees to fire, chemical, respiratory hazards
BRAINTREE, Massachusetts – Guiseppe Falcone and Daniele Falcone, doing business as D & J Ironworks, failed to follow safety precautions, which fire officials indicated led to a fire that cost the lives of two Boston fire fighters, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined.
The fire in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood on March 26, 2014, was caused because the Malden-based welding company allowed its employees to install railings using arc welding equipment during high wind conditions. Fire officials said sparks from welding railings at 296 Beacon St. ignited clapboards on an adjacent shed at 298 Beacon St., which led to the fire.
“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. “This company’s failure to implement these required, common-sense safeguards put its own employees at risk and resulted in a needless, tragic fire.”
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 and imposed fines of $58,000. The citations can be viewed here.