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Aug. 31, 2015 BOS 2015-160

Idea Nuova again exposes employees to blocked exit and fire hazards
Manhattan home decor company faces more than $84K in proposed OSHA fines

NEW YORK - For the second time in two years, a U.S. and international home decor manufacturer and distributor has shown that it lags in employee safety.

A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection of New York-based Idea Nuova's 302 Fifth Ave. showroom found aisles clogged with merchandise, including beanbag chairs, and an emergency exit blocked by disco balls, desks and lamps, conditions that could prevent a swift workplace exit in an emergency.

In addition, stairwell exit doors on the third, fifth and ninth floors were repeatedly propped open, even after OSHA told management previously that the doors must remain closed to prevent the spread of flames and smoke during a fire. OSHA cited Idea Nuova in 2013 for similar hazards at this location and at the company's 80 Richards St. facility in Brooklyn.

"Burns, smoke inhalation, electric shock and falling merchandise aren't chic. Blocked and impeded exits can cost employees their lives."
-Kay Gee, OSHA area director

The agency also determined that employees risked blows from haphazardly stacked merchandise on the 10th floor, while those on the third floor faced electric shock hazards due to an exposed electrical outlet.

On Aug. 24, OSHA cited* the company for one willful, two repeated and two serious violations. Proposed fines total $84,150.

"Burns, smoke inhalation, electric shock and falling merchandise aren't chic. Blocked and impeded exits can cost employees their lives," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director in Manhattan. "Idea Nuova must not wait for a tragedy before addressing these issues."

To view emergency exit route information, visit online.

Idea Nuova has offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia. The company creates, produces and markets products for many of the biggest brands in the world, including Sharper Image, Chris Madden Style, Urban Shop and Tweens. They also develop private-label collections for global retailers, including The Walt Disney Co., Nickelodeon and Major League Baseball.

The company 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 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 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 www.osha.gov.

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Media Contacts:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

Release Number: 15-1658-NEW


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