Monro Muffler Brake Inc. has agreed to institute procedures to protect its workers against hydraulic lift injuries at its more than 800 stores, the result of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation that revealed deficiencies in equipment.
The OSHA investigation began last September and was prompted by an April 2011 incident in Stoughton, Mass., in which a lift failure caused a car to fall. OSHA said service center employees were exposed to being struck or crushed if the lifts failed and proposed fines of $19,000.
Monro Muffler initially contested the citations, according to an OSHA statement, but has agreed to address the issue companywide and pay $12,500 for the violations in Stoughton.
“What’s important about this agreement is its multiplier effect,” said Marthe Kent, OSHA’s regional administrator in Boston. “It will enhance safety for Monro employees at service centers in multiple states. That means safer working conditions for thousands of workers at hundreds of workplaces.”
Under the agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor, Monro Muffler will develop and implement an inspection and maintenance program to comply with industry standards, and will include periodic inspections by qualified inspectors. It will include procedures to remedy any potentially unsafe conditions, mandatory training for lift operators and the submission of written compliance reports to OSHA.
“We have long-standing policies and procedures in place covering our store operations, including lift use, maintenance and safety,” said Lawrence Nagle, Monro's director of corporate risk management.
“These policies and procedures exist to ensure the safety of our employees and customers and the quality of work we do.”
The incident will give Monro an opportunity to work with OSHA to refine its policies and procedures for lifts, further enhancing the safety of its stores and quality of work, Nagle added.
“This settlement agreement replaces potentially lengthy and contentious litigation with a mutual respect for and commitment to worker safety,” said Michael Felsen, OSHA’s regional solicitor of New England. “We encourage other employers to take similar steps to eliminate hazards and safeguard their workers in a broad, systemic and effective manner.”
Monro Muffler operates 860 stores in 20 states and employs some 5,600 people. Shares of company stock (Nasdaq: MNRO) were down 34 cents at $34.83 a share in midday trading.