US Labor Department's OSHA proposes fines of $236,500 for Forever 21 for
repeat workplace safety violations at Paramus, NJ, and Manhattan, NY, stores
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited fashion retail chain Forever 21 for exposing employees to safety hazards at its stores in Paramus, N.J., and Manhattan. OSHA inspected both stores in July after receiving complaints alleging violations and proposed $236,500 in penalties.
Inspectors cited the company for four repeat violations at the Paramus store, including obstructed exit routes; a fire extinguisher that was not mounted and readily accessible; stored material that was not secured against sliding or collapse; and fluorescent lights that had no cover to prevent accidental contact or breakage.
Inspectors issued citations for two repeat violations to the Manhattan store, including obstructed exit routes and fluorescent lights with no covers. A serious citation was also issued because the store was not kept clean and orderly.
"It is unacceptable for Forever 21 to continue repeating these violations, which are common among retailers, and put workers at serious risk," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "Retail managers have a legal responsibility to inspect their stores, identify potential hazards and quickly eliminate them to ensure worker safety and health."
A repeat citation is issued when a substantially similar violation is found at any of an employer's facilities in federal enforcement states within five years of a previous citation. The company was previously cited for these violations in 2012. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
Citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Forever21_Retail_Inc_924027_0102_14.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Forever21_922344_JANUARY2014.pdf*.
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), the Hasbrouck Heights Area Office at 201-288-1700 or the Manhattan Area Office at 212-620-3200.
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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.