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This Months Featured OSHA Citation

 

Points worth noting:

 

OSHA inspected 11 different stores (note to those with multiple work locations)

 

Fine was set at $144,700

 

OSHA's viewpoint on the large fine:

"The significant penalty of $144,700 in this case demonstrates our

commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."

 

Fines were issued for:

locked or blocked emergency exits

obstructed exit routes

missing exit signs

inadequate fire extinguisher training

unguarded cardboard compactor

failure to keep walking surfaces clean

unstable storage of bulk material

 

Trade News Release Banner Image

Region 2 News Release:    05-103-NEW/BOS 2005-028
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005
Contacts: Ted Fitzgerald
 

Rite-Aid of New York Faces $144,700 in OSHA Fines for Locked and Blocked Exits and Other Safety Hazards at Bronx Stores


TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Safety hazards at 11 Bronx Rite Aid stores have resulted in Rite-Aid of New York Inc. being fined a total of $144,700 by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Hazards included locked or blocked emergency exits, obstructed exit routes, missing exit signs and inadequate fire extinguisher training.

"Strong enforcement is a key part of this Administration's efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $144,700 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."

The citations and fines are the result of OSHA inspections of Rite-Aid stores in the Bronx between August 2004 and January 2005. The inspection of the 2138 White Plains Rd. store was in response to an employee complaint about a locked exit. The other 10 inspections were conducted to monitor the company's compliance with an April 2004 settlement agreement in which Rite Aid paid $90,000 in fines for previous violations and promised that all exit doors at its facilities would remain unlocked during working hours.

These latest OSHA inspections found a total of nine instances of locked or blocked exits, obstructed exit access, inadequate exit route lighting or aisles too narrow to ensure swift and safe egress in an emergency. Additional fire-related safety hazards included several instances where exit route signs and other required exit signage were not posted, in addition to unmounted or blocked fire extinguishers and failure to train workers on fire extinguisher use. Other hazards included an unguarded cardboard compactor, failure to keep walking surfaces clean and unstable storage of bulk material.

Rite Aid of New York was issued one willful citation, with a $40,000 fine, for a locked emergency exit and obstructed exit access at the White Plains Rd. store. Remaining hazards at this or the other 10 stores resulted in $92,700 in fines for 12 repeat citations and $12,000 in fines for eight serious citations. A list of citations and fines by store is attached.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar hazard in the past and that citation has become final. A serious citation is issued when death or serious injury is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

 

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