Region 2 News Release: N172
Date: August 14, 2001
Contact: Chester Fultz
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK FURNITURE RETAILER CITED BY OSHA FOR LOCKED EXITS AND OTHER SERIOUS SAFETY VIOLATIONS
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The U. S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced it has cited Nationwide Warehouse & Storage, Inc., of East Syracuse, N.Y., alleging that the company kept exit doors locked and failed to clear aisles leading to exits at its 2410 Erie Blvd. facility. The two alleged willful violations carry a total proposed penalty of $126,000.
OSHA inspected the facility from Feb. 13 through April 12, following a referral from a local government agency.
"Locked doors and blocked aisles pose serious safety hazards to workers," said Diane Brayden, OSHA area director in Syracuse. "In the event of a fire or other emergency, lives could be lost because people could not escape. Common sense and human decency should dictate that people need a way to exit a building."
OSHA also cited the company for nine alleged serious violations, including:
- failure to safely stack mattresses and furniture.
- failure to provide a sufficient number of exits and directions to exits.
- failure to provide handrails on stairways.
- failure to properly inspect and provide an adequate number of onsite fire extinguishers and to train employees about how to use fire extinguishers.
- failure to properly guard live electrical parts.
The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $33,300.
In addition, OSHA cited the firm for alleged other-than-serious violations, including failure to properly assess the workplace to determine personal protective equipment needs; failure to provide proper protective equipment to employees working with combustible chemicals; failure to use permanent wiring instead of extension cords; and failure to keep the area in front of circuit breakers clear.
A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm can result. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Syracuse area office, located at 3300 Vickery Street, North Syracuse, N. Y. Telephone: (315) 451-0808. Nationwide Warehouse & Storage has until Aug. 30 to contest the citations.