Injuries to an assistant manager of a Massachusetts Big Lots store prompted a visit by OSHA inspectors, who found numerous hazards at the facility.

The employee was hospitalized after boxes of patio furniture and other stock, weighing up to 53 pounds each, fell and struck him in the store’s rear stockroom.

Exposure to fractures, being trapped

OSHA inspectors saw numerous boxes of stock were stacked high and in an unstable condition throughout the Danver store storeroom. In addition, the storeroom’s aisles were clogged by boxes of stock, broken wooden pallets, plastic wrap, packing materials and pieces of cardboard. These conditions exposed employees to fractures, broken bones, concussion, sprains and other injuries as well as to being trapped or unable to exit the storeroom swiftly in the event of a fire.

“Every workplace-including a retail store-has potential hazards. Unsafely stacked stock resulted in serious and avoidable injuries for this Big Lots employee. For the safety and well-being of all its employees, Big Lots must promptly and effectively address these hazards at all its locations to prevent future injuries,” said Anthony Covello, OSHA’s acting area director in Andover.

Similar hazards at other  Big Lots stores

OSHA cited* Big Lots Stores Inc. for two repeated violations on Oct. 2, 2015. It had cited the company in 2014 for similar hazards at its West Babylon, New York, and Warner Robins, Georgia, locations. Big Lots Stores Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Proposed penalties: $66,000