Another Worker Lost on the Job

September 26, 2018

MassCOSH releases statements regarding workplace deaths as we are made aware of them. Sadly, this past Sunday, another worker lost their life on the job. By working hard to ensure that the media and the general public are made aware of such a needless loss of life, we seek to shift the tone of how these events are covered. It is our hope that these events will stop being reported as 'freak accidents,' that the media will notice a pattern, and the public will start demanding accountability. Below is our most recent statement.

 
The recent murder of an unnamed crew member of the fishing vessel Capt Billy Haver is a tragic reminder that workplace violence can affect all working people and that all employers should have plans in place to protect their employees in the event of a violent confrontation, said the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MassCOSH) in a statement released today.
 
According to news reports, Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez, 27, is accused of fatality stabbing and bludgeoning a fellow crew member and injuring another this past Sunday while the boat was in Massachusetts waters.
 
In 2017, workplace violence was the fifth leading cause of death on the job in the state, with five workers killed, more than double the workers murdered on the job in 2016 (two). Retail workers, delivery drivers, health care professionals, public service workers, customer service agents, and law enforcement personnel are at elevated risk of workplace violence. There are a number of well-documented factors that increase risk, including exchanging money with the public, working alone or in isolated areas, working at night, providing services and care, and working where alcohol is served.
 
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recognized the frequency and devastating impact of workplace violence and has previously awarded MassCOSH a Susan Harwood grant to train workers and employers in the retail sector in Massachusetts and with partner organizations in New York, California, and Pennsylvania on methods to avert violence on the job. MassCOSH is currently training teenage workers in the state on workplace violence awareness and mitigation.
 
“Workplace violence does not discriminate by industry,” said MassCOSH Executive Director Jodi Sugerman-Brozan. “It’s crucial that all workplaces have a plan in place, so workers know what to do and can best protect themselves from individuals who wish to do them harm. Workplaces interested in receiving training on workplace violence prevention can contact our office.”