US Labor Department's OSHA cites Pretty Girl Inc. for exit access, electrical
and sanitary/housekeeping violations at Brooklyn store
Women's apparel chain previously cited in 2011 for hazards at Bronx location
NEW YORK – Pretty Girl Inc., the Brooklyn-based women's apparel chain, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exit access, electrical, sanitary and housekeeping hazards at its 441 Knickerbocker Ave. store in Brooklyn. It faces $43,890 in proposed fines.
OSHA's Manhattan Area Office began its inspection on May 1, after the company failed to respond to inquiries about allegations of unsanitary conditions and housekeeping hazards at the store. The inspection found workers exposed to backed-up sewage in the basement storage area; tripping hazards from haphazardly stored boxes, bags and merchandise; and to falling pieces from a drop ceiling. This resulted in the issuance of one repeat citation with a $7,700 fine. Similar hazards were cited in 2011 at its 203 E. Fordham Road store in the Bronx.
The exit access hazards at the Brooklyn store include an exit aisle, from the basement storage area, that was too narrow; nonworking exit lighting; and missing exit signs. Other hazards found include the lack of an emergency action plan for fire extinguisher use, uninspected and unmounted fire extinguishers and electrical hazards. These conditions resulted in the issuance of eight serious violations with $35,420 in fines. The store was also issued one other-than-serious citation with a $770 fine for not maintaining an OSHA 300 illness and injury log.
"A retail store may not seem like an inherently dangerous place to work, but the conditions found here place employees at risk of being unable to exit the store swiftly in the event of an emergency, electric shock, illness, struck-by injuries, and burns," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "The pattern of recurring housekeeping violations is disturbing. This employer needs to examine conditions at all its stores and take effective action to help ensure the safety and well-being of its employees."
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. 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.
Pretty Girl Inc., which has almost 40 stores in New York and New Jersey, 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 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.