Safety rules, governmental regulations or ordinances, and industry standards may be offered by either party in civil cases as evidence of the appropriate care under the circumstances.
This section is derived from Torre v. Harris-Seybold Co., 9 Mass. App. Ct. 660, 671, 404 N.E.2d 96, 105 (1980). Like the safety rules themselves, evidence of an employee’s violation of his or her employer’s safety rules is admissible as evidence of negligence. Lev v. Beverly Enters. Mass., Inc., 457 Mass. 234, 245, 929 N.E.2d 303, 313 (2010). A company’s or industry’s “custom and practice,” even when not embodied in a written policy, is also admissible. Commonwealth v. Angelo Todesca Corp., 446 Mass. 128, 137–138, 842 N.E.2d 930, 939–940 (2006). A violation of such rules or regulations, while some evidence of negligence, is not conclusive. St. Germaine v. Prendergast, 411 Mass. 615, 620, 584 N.E.2d 611, 614 (1992). The rule or regulation cannot, however, create a duty where none exists and is admissible only if the harm is of the kind intended to be prevented. Lev v. Beverly Enters. Mass., Inc., 457 Mass. at 246–247, 929 N.E.2d at 313–314.
Cross-Reference: Section 803(17), Hearsay Exceptions; Availability of Declarant Immaterial: Statements of Facts of General Interest; Section 803(18), Hearsay Exceptions; Availability of Declarant Immaterial: Learned Treatises.