Retailer locked emergency exits during work hours
OSHA has cited Conway Stores Inc. for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its store in the Bronx. The discount retailer faces a total of $90,000 in proposed fines.
OSHA's inspection revealed several instances where emergency exit doors in the store were padlocked during work hours and emergency exit routes were obstructed by racks of clothing and boxes of stock, conditions that would have prevented or impeded employees' swift exit of the workplace in the event of a fire or other emergency. In addition, a cardboard baler was operated with its door open exposing employees to crushing hazards; an unsecured compressed gas cylinder was exposed to damage; and the store lacked a continuing and effective extermination program for rats and vermin.
"When every second counts, workers can't afford to wait until keys can be located, applied to multiple padlocks and the locks removed," said OSHA area director said Diana Cortez
OSHA issued the store one willful citation, with a $55,000 fine, for the locked emergency exits; one repeat citation, with a $15,000 fine, for obstructed exit routes; and five serious citations with $20,000 in fines for the remaining items. The willfull citation was due to a similar hazard in December 2010.