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U.S. Department of Labor | May 25, 2016 BOS 2016-079

Obstructed emergency exits at two New Rochelle CVS stores: OSHA
Similar hazard found at other stores; retailer faces $88k in fines for repeated hazard

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. - Responding to complaints, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found access to emergency exits at two New Rochelle CVS stores blocked by merchandise, boxes and other objects. As a result, OSHA is citing the retailer for two repeated violations of workplace safety standards and proposing a total of $88,000 in fines.

"Blocked or obstructed exits are dangerous. They can prevent workers from leaving their store swiftly and safely in a fire or other emergency. This is an easily preventable hazard that we encounter all too frequently in retail stores," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown.

In New Rochelle, the exit door in the receiving and stock room at the 16 Weyman Ave. store was blocked by containers of merchandise, boxes and carts and the exit route was obstructed by boxes and crates stored in aisles; the stock room exit route at the 625 North Ave. store was blocked by boxes and totes filled with merchandise. Between 2010 and 2016, OSHA had cited CVS stores in Brooklyn, Garden City, Ozone Park and Troy, New York, and Bridgeport and Orange, Connecticut, for similar hazards.

"Particularly disturbing is the recurring nature of this hazard. This is not the first time OSHA has cited CVS stores for obstructed exit routes, but it should be the last. CVS needs to take effective action to eliminate and prevent this hazard at all its locations for the safety and well-being of its employees," said Cortez.

The citations can be viewed here.

Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S., with 9,600 pharmacy stores and more than 243,000 employees in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

It has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet 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 Tarrytown Area Office at 914-524-7510.

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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Media Contact:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov
James C. Lally, 617-565-2074, lally.james.c@dol.gov

Release Number: 16-1061-NEW


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