Retailers face $103K in fines for blocked exits, electrical shock hazards
Posted July 22, 2016
A federal workplace safety inspection of a department store in Aventura, Florida, by OSHA found employees at risk due to repeated and serious violations related to blocked exits, improper housekeeping, and electric shock hazards.
Since 2007, OSHA has inspected various locations of the company 42 times and issued citations for blocked exits, obstructed access to electrical disconnect panels, and using flexible cords instead of permanent wiring. The company is one of the nation's largest retailers with approximately 157,900 workers nationwide in about 870 stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
OSHA initiated an inspection on January 15, 2016, in Aventura after receiving a complaint concerning several workplace injuries and hazards. The agency's inspectors then cited the department store and another retailer renting space inside of the store for 14 safety and health violations.
Combined, the two businesses face $103,220 in penalties.
OSHA issued three repeated citations to the department store for:
- Allowing access to electrical disconnect switches to be blocked with metal racks, boxes, and a ladder.
- Exposing workers to electric shock hazards by using flexible cable instead of fixed wiring.
- Exposing employees to fire hazards due to exit routes not being clearly marked.
The serious citations relate to the department store’s:
- Improper housekeeping in the receiving and storage areas.
- Allowing exit doors to be locked with a padlock.
- Not ensuring exit routes are kept free and unobstructed.
- Exposing workers to electric shock hazards due to unprotected wiring entering an outlet box and a missing ground pin on an electrical plug.
The agency also cited two serious violations to the entity renting space in the department store for failure to keep the storage area clean and free from clutter and blocking exit routes.
In addition, OSHA cited the department store for three other-than-serious violations for a lack of exit route signs, not providing signs on doors that are not an exit, and failing to mount and identify the location of fire extinguishers. The company renting space was also issued one other-than-serious citation for failing to mount fire extinguishers.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA Rules for General Industry: 1910 and Other Essential Regulations puts OSHA’s workplace safety regulations in a reader-friendly format.
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