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Massachusetts Trucker Fired for Being Too Safe?

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have recently demanded that Brillo Motor Transportation Inc., a commercial motor carrier located in Massachusetts, reinstate a former employee. They’ve also demanded that the company pay that employee close to $100,000 in back wages and interest, $25,000 in punitive damages and another $10,000 in compensatory damages.
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The owners of the company violated the employee protection provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when they decided to let go of that truck driver back in December of 2010, according to the government’s allegations. They fired him in order to retaliate against his refusal to drive more hours than were allowed by federal standards. In this particular case, the driver refused to drive from Quincy to Milford because he had already exceeded that limit.

Our Quincy workers’ compensation attorneys understand that an employer cannot take action against a worker who refuses to break safety standards. The driver was at high risks for getting into an accident resulting from drowsy driving because of the extensive amount of hours he had already put into his work week.

In addition to that payout, the company has also been ordered to cover the worker’s lawyer’s fees for the complaint, toss out any kind of reference to the firing and to educate all current and future workers about their rights under the STAA.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV.

What is a CMV?

-Any vehicle that weight more than 10,000 pounds.

-Any vehicle that has a gross combination weight rating of 10,000 or more.

-A vehicle that has been made to transport 9 or more people.

-Any vehicle that is involved in intrastate or interstate commerce and carries hazardous materials.

Recent HOS rule additions:

-All 34-hour restarts are required to include two time periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. or home terminal time. These can only be used once a week, 168 hours, starting from the beginning of the restart time before.

-Drivers can only drive if they’ve served 8 hours of rest since the end of their last off-duty of sleeping time of at least a half hour.

-On-duty time no longer includes time spent resting inside the vehicle.

-Drivers can only drive 11 hours after 10 hours off the clock.

-Drivers are not allowed to drive passed the 14th hour in a row after coming on duty. The next 10 hours have to be rest time.

-Drivers cannot drive after completing 60/70 hours on the clock in 7/8 days in a row.

The truth of the matter is that transportation accidents are the number one cause of death for workers across the nation. These HOS regulations have been set forth in an attempt to lessen the risks of these incidents. Make sure you and your company are following these regulations. It’ll help save lives!

If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Keeping Boston Teens Safe through Summer Work, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 16, 2013

Man Seriously Injured in Quincy Work Accident After Electrocution and Fall, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 14, 2013