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Boston welding company cited for March fire

The March blaze resulted in the deaths of two Boston firefighters.

The March blaze resulted in the deaths of two Boston firefighters.

The National Occupational Safety and Health Administration agency has fined D&J Iron Works, a Malden-based welding company, $58,000 for lack of safety procedures, which, it asserts, led to a March blaze in Back Bay, killing two Boston fire fighters. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of following safety and best practices to ensure that preventable accidents that lead to loss of life do not happen. 

Leading up to the event, D&J workers had been installing iron railings at the 296 Beacon St. apartment building. On the day of the fire, "Sparks flew into the wooden clapboards of a shed attached to 298 Beacon St., according to Suffolk prosecutors, who are still deciding whether to bring criminal charges in the case," Maria Cramer of The Boston Globe reports.

Brenda Gordon, OSHA's director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts said of D&J: "This company's failure to implement these required, common-sense safeguards put its own employees at risk and resulted in a needless, tragic fire."

D&J's violations include not training its employees in fire safety procedures and failing to develop a fire prevention program. In addition, the company didn't move the railing to another location to reduce risks, something that should be done during the cutting and welding stages. Finally, D&J did not have an employee on-site with expertise in preventing the outbreak of fires. OSHA concluded that D&J's violations created hazardous conditions but did not represent willful violations, an opinion voiced by OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

Firefighters Michael R. Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh Jr. were killed in the March fire. Initially responding to a small residential fire, the two firefighters later became trapped in the basement of 298 Beacon St. While fellow firefighters attempted to rescue them, strong winds fanned the flames, worsening conditions and preventing them from accessing the two men. 

The Boston Fire Department is also conducting its own internal review. Steve MacDonald, the Department's spokesman, said: "What they're doing is looking at policies and procedures." These include: "reviewing everything, reviewing weather, radio communications, anything and everything having to do with the fire."

However, regarding the actual fines OSHA is levying against D&J, many don't believe they go far enough. Sidney Shapiro, a professor at Wake Forest University School of Law and former consultant to OSHA, expressed this opinion. To promote better workplace safety, she emphasized the necessity of harsher financial penalties on companies who violate OSHA regulations.

The March fire, which could have been prevented through following proper fire safety practices, serves as a reminder of the importance of training. Through a learning management system, your organization can improve its safety and compliance with OSHA standards. To learn more about SyberWorks services or to schedule a product demonstration, please call us at 888-642-7078, email us at info@syberworks.com or register on our site.

SyberWorks, Inc.
411 Waverley Oaks Road
Building 3, Suite 319
Waltham, MA 02452

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