The fire on March 26, 2014, in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, 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. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The citations can be viewed here*.
D & J Ironworks, which faces $58,000 in fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Braintree office at 617-565-6924.