OSHA Cites Employer in Workplace Violence Death of Employee

By Roy Maurer Nov 28, 2012
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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Dallas-based TMT Inc. with four serious safety violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act’s general duty clause following an aggravated robbery that resulted in the death of an employee at the company’s Whip-In convenience store in Garland, Texas.

OSHA announced the violations Nov. 19, 2012, in connection with the May 2012 death of the store clerk, who was alone at the time. She was robbed and set on fire and later died from her injuries.

“Handling money, working alone and standing behind open counters leaves employees vulnerable to violent crimes,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s Dallas area director, in a media statement. “If the employer had conducted an analysis to identify risk for violence, implemented appropriate control measures and provided training to ensure awareness of potential violence, it is possible that this tragic loss of life could have been avoided.”

OSHA’s Dallas area office opened an investigation at the Garland store, as well as the company’s three other stores in Dallas and Mesquite, and found that workers at those locations were exposed to the same or similar workplace violence hazards.

Each store was cited with violating the OSH Act’s “general duty clause” for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death. The proposed penalties totaled $19,600.

OSHA defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening and disruptive behavior that occurs at a worksite.

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).

More information on workplace violence is available here.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow me on Twitter @SHRMRoy.

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