Dec. 17, 2015 BOS 2015-229
Forever 21 Retail Inc. agrees to correct hazards, pay $100K in penalties for
safety violations at Westfarms Mall store in Farmington, Connecticut
OSHA reminds employers of critical need for clear, unobstructed emergency exit routes
BOSTON - The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement agreement with Forever 21 Retail Inc. in which the fashion retailer commits to eliminate safety hazards at its Westfarms Mall store in Farmington, Connecticut, and pay $100,000 in penalties to the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA cited Forever 21 in May 2015 after an inspection of the Farmington store found boxes piled as high as 10 feet and stacked in an unstable manner, so they blocked exit routes or could fall onto workers. The company contested its citations and penalties initially, but has now reached an agreement with the department to abate the cited hazards and comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act and its standards.
"Retailers should stock products safely and away from emergency exits, especially during the holiday season when store stock increases. Additionally, retailers must avoid stacking boxes so high that they could tip or fall and strike an employee," said Kim Stille, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Proper safeguards will prevent needless and avoidable injuries."
"While the settlement resolves this case, it also sends a message to Forever 21 and other retailers, either stand-alone businesses or multiple-store enterprises, that it's their responsibility under the law to take effective steps to protect employees at their establishments, wherever located, against these hazards," said Michael Felsen, the regional solicitor of labor for New England.
The filed settlement will become a final order after approval by the assigned administrative law judge and docketing with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. It can be viewed here*.
OSHA's Hartford Area Office conducted the inspection, and agency attorney Susan Salzberg of the regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston negotiated the settlement.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Hartford Area Office at 860-240-3152.
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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Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075 firstname.lastname@example.org
Release Number: 15-2434-BOS
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.