Region 2 News Release: 11-1162-NEW/BOS 2011-281
Aug. 8, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Dick's Sporting Goods
for safety hazards at Queensbury, NY, location
Pennsylvania-based retailer faces $57,300 in fines, urged to examine safety at other stores
ALBANY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Dick's Sporting Goods for six alleged violations of workplace safety standards after an OSHA inspection identified several hazards at the retailer's store at the Aviation Mall in Queensbury. The Pennsylvania-based retailer faces a total of $57,300 in proposed fines.
OSHA inspectors found that workers at the Queensbury store were periodically required to enter a trash compactor that had not first been de-energized in order to remove cardboard blockages. Additionally, the store lacked the means and procedures for employees to enter and work safely in such a confined space, and training was not provided on the hazards and safeguards associated with work in a confined space. Finally, access to fire extinguishers was blocked and employees were not trained in how to use fire extinguishers in the event of a fire.
"Even in a retail outlet, employees can be exposed to deadly or disabling hazards if the proper safeguards and training are absent, as they were here," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "These workers could have been crushed or burned. For the safety and health of all of its employees, I urge this employer to examine safety and health issues at its other stores and promptly take corrective action."
Two repeat violations with $33,000 in fines were cited for the blocked fire extinguishers and lack of fire extinguisher training. Four serious violations with $24,300 in fines were cited for the confined space hazards and a missing fire extinguisher.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. 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. In this case, the repeat citations stem from OSHA having cited the retailer in May 2010 for similar hazards at a Melville, N.Y., store.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program in which workers and management continually work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Dick's Sporting Goods has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Albany Area Office; telephone 518-464-4338. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
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.