US Labor Department's OSHA cites Forever 21 for repeat safety hazards
following inspection of Burlington, Mass., store
Los Angeles-based retailer faces $55,000 in fines for recurring hazards
ANDOVER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Forever 21 with two alleged repeat violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection of the retailer's Burlington store. The Los Angeles-based retail chain faces a total of $55,000 in proposed fines for exposing workers to struck-by and exit access hazards following a December 2012 inspection by OSHA's Andover Area Office.
Workers at the Burlington Mall Forever 21 store faced the hazards of being struck by boxes that fell from piles of stock in the store's back room that were not secured against collapse or displacement. Additionally, the store's emergency exit route was compromised by boxes of stock narrowing the route to the extent that it could prevent workers from swiftly and safely exiting the store during a fire or other emergency.
As a result, Forever 21 was issued two repeat citations with $55,000 in fines for these recurring hazards. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited Forever 21 in 2011 for similar hazards at its Bridgewater, N.J., store.
"Improper storage of stock and inadequate exit routes can and do put workers at risk of serious and severe injury," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. "Particularly disturbing is that these same hazards were previously found at another Forever 21 store. An employer with multiple locations, such as Forever 21, must ensure that safe and healthful working conditions are maintained at all its workplaces."
Forever 21 has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Andover office at 978-837-4460.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.