BOSTON (CBS) — The seafood company where an employee was killed in an ammonia leak that prompted a large Hazmat response Wednesday had a history of OSHA violations that warned of ammonia leaks.
The employee who was killed has been identified as Brian Caron, a husband and father of two from Peabody. “If there was something going on for a friend, he was there,” said Jane Leone, Caron’s friend. “He was sincere, he was a real genuine guy.”READ MORE: Framingham Man Seriously Injured In New Hampshire Rollover UTV Crash
Stavis Seafoods, owners of the warehouse where Caron was killed, had sixteen OSHA violations in 2009. The violations were found during a planned inspection.
OSHA also expressed concern about the company’s handling of ammonia. In a release from September 2009, the organization said, “The requirements of OSHA’s PSM standard are stringent and comprehensive because a leak could have a severe or catastrophic effect on employees.”
According to WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk, OSHA came to an informal settlement with Stavis later that year in which the company agreed to correct some of the violations–but there are no records or any indication that OSHA has been back since.
The violations regarding ammonia were later cleared because the amount of ammonia on-site was under the threshold required for a company to follow OSHA’s requirements for process safety management. The company paid a fine of $15,750 for other violations.
According to state records, Stavis Seafoods has reported 17 work-related injuries since 2009.
Richard Stavis, CEO of Stavis Seafoods, issued the following statement Thursday:
Our concern today is with the tragic death of our employee, his family and finding out exactly what happened.READ MORE: Rep. Stephen Lynch: 'We Have To Get To An Agreement' On Stalled Infrastructure Bill
The safety of our employees and our workplace is always our greatest priority. To that end we will do everything we can to assist with the investigation.
Boston Fire responded to the Stavis Seafoods warehouse at 7 Channel Street around 6 p.m. Wednesday night. They found one worker dead near a second-floor stairwell.
“Our first companies on the scene made entry to try to save one of the workers but they were pushed back by the product, the ammonia,” Boston Fire Chief John Walsh said.
Four other workers who were in the building were able to evacuate.
The leak of a 5,300 lb. ammonia tank prompted a Level 3 Hazmat response and firefighters wore fully encapsulated suits when they entered the building.
The ammonia leak was stopped when firefighters shut down the main valve several hours after they arrived at the warehouse.
First responders say they wasted precious time trying to reach the emergency shutoff.
“There’s a valve in there that’s supposed to be easily accessible. But at this building it’s not at this time,” Boston Fire Chief John Walsh said Wednesday night.MORE NEWS: Man Runs Off With 'High-Value' Diamond Necklace From Swansea Jewelry Store
It is not yet clear how the leak started. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said homicide detectives and OSHA are investigating.