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DOL, retail store reach settlement to implement enhanced safety measures nationwide

Company will pay $825K in fines stemming from more than a dozen inspections

Posted December 15, 2015

OSHA and a national discount retail store have reached an agreement that settles all safety and health citations issued against the company. The settlement agreement resolves numerous contested citations, and includes an agreement by the company to pay $825,000 in penalties arising from 13 different inspections.

The corporate-wide settlement also implements safeguards to protect workers at all stores nationwide from hazards related to blocked emergency exits, obstructed access to exit routes and electrical equipment, and improper material storage.

The agreement includes 2,400 stores. The company's program will incorporate management commitment, employee participation, hazard identification and control, education and training for employees and multi-level managers, and program evaluation. The company also agreed to publish a corporate newsletter covering safety and health issues.

Additionally, the company has agreed to do the following:

  • Allow a third-party monitor to audit 50 company stores during the two-year agreement. The monitor will share findings and recommendations with store managers, who then must correct identified issues within 21 days.
  • Internally inspect a cross section of its stores during the two-year agreement, plus an additional year.
  • Encourage employees to use a new, toll-free number for anonymously reporting safety and health issues.
  • Work together with OSHA to monitor implementation of the agreement, including periodic progress reports and monitoring inspections to ensure terms are being met.

In addition to monitoring safety practices and implementing the safety and health management program, the company will institute several engineering and administrative control measures at its retail stores, including:

  • Prohibiting the stacking or storing of materials or equipment in a way that would block or obstruct access to emergency exits and electrical equipment.
  • Implementing procedures in which managers at different levels can request storage containers to store items in a way that allows free access to emergency exits and electrical equipment.
  • Requiring routes to emergency exits and electrical equipment be at least 28 inches wide.

Reviewing delivery, unloading, and personnel systems to ensure placement of received merchandise and materials in designated storage or sales areas does not obstruct access to exits and electrical equipment, or create storage hazards.

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