How Market Basket’s Changing Worker Safety Rules After OSHA Settlement

Nancy D. Regan / Flickr

Many grocery stores don't have the kinds of safety rules in place that DeMoulas recently agreed to

Recently,Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based DeMoulas Supermarkets, Inc. settled with the feds on a laundry list of major safety violations at Market Basket stores.  As we’ve previously reported, OSHA slapped DeMoulas with $589,000 in fines following store inspections in Concord and Rindge.  Then, after considering a the number of serious, repeat, and willful violations, the agency went so far as to demand that DeMoulas systematically overhaul safety practices at all 66 stores in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

That’s only the second time OSHA’s gone to that extreme.

And while DeMoulas was able to settle the case with the feds, Patrick Meighan of the Nashua Telegraph reports that resolving the issue didn’t come cheap.  The company still has to pay most of the fine–$400,000–and make franchise-wide safety improvements:

“These improvements include a full-time safety and health director with the full authority and responsibility to develop, implement, monitor and enforce the requirements of the company’s safety and health program, OSHA announced.

Other improvements include a written safety and health program for each workplace that will include inspections to monitor and evaluate the program’s effectiveness as well as provisions to identify, document and remedy any hazards or violations, according to OSHA.

Also, DeMoulas agreed to implement a written disciplinary program for all workplaces and all employees, including management; create the position of a safety and health liaison for each supermarket department; implement formal safety and health training for all new employees and all new and existing employees on an annual basis; and include a safety and health evaluation as a material element in annual performance reviews of all store and department managers.”

Why go so far?  As New Hampshire Grocers Association President and CEO John Dumais explains to StateImpact, “It’s probably a bit more aggressive than normal.  They’re probably doing more than they need to, but it’s probably something everybody should be doing.  They’re being very proactive in what they’re doing.”

Given this unusual case, we’ll be looking into what, exactly, OSHA found during the course of its investigation, and why it cracked down on DeMoulas.


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