According to Boston.com, Service Employees International Union is questioning the decision to terminate the employment of the two inspectors accused of not properly checking the escalator that 4-year-old Mark DiBona plunged to his death from at the Auburn Mall last March. In a recent blog post, our Boston injury lawyers reported on the fact that DiBona’s parents have filed a Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit against Sears Roebuck and Co. and several other parties.
The Dudley boy fell through a 6-inch gap on the escalator even though Massachusetts building codes don’t allow for openings larger than 4-inches. The two inspectors who had inspected the escalator prior to that were suspended after Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Gatzunis found that they failed to mandate that escalator owners make sure that there are safety barriers over any wide gaps found next to the sides of different public escalators. Steps have since been taken to have them fired.
However, a legal representative for Service Employees International Union is arguing that inspectors have never cited escalator owners before for violating this portion of the code and that many inspectors were not even aware that the state doesn’t allow such wide gaps next to the escalators. He said that this lack of training of escalator inspectors is an institutional problem, which is an implication that the adequate information possessed by inspectors is not necessarily their fault.
That said, inspections are supposed to be conducted yearly to make sure that escalators are safe for use and free from any hazards that cause serious injury. If an escalator injury or death does occur, the owner of the escalator could be held liable for Boston premises liability or wrongful death, while the manufacturer of a defectively designed escalator may be held liable for Boston products liability.
Union says inspectors ill-trained, Boston.com, June 11, 2011
2 Fired, 6 Suspended After Boy’s Escalator Death, WCVB Boston, May 4, 2011
Massachusetts Department of Public Safety
More Blog Posts:
Worcester County Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed By Family of Dudley Boy Killed in Massachusetts Escalator Accident, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 10, 2011 4-Year-Old Dudley Boy Dies in Auburn, Massachusetts Escalator Fall Accident, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 16, 2011
Massachusetts Premises Liability?: Most Shopping Mall Escalators Are Not Inspected Annually, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 26, 2011