US Labor Department's OSHA proposes nearly $200,000 in fines against CVS
for exit access, struck-by and other hazards at Brooklyn, NY, store
Rhode Island-based retail pharmacy chain previously cited for similar hazards
NEW YORK – CVS Albany LLC has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exit access and other hazards at the retailer's 2151 86th St. pharmacy and store in Brooklyn. Proposed fines total $199,500 following a complaint inspection in March by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office.
"Unfortunately, this is not the first time OSHA has cited CVS for several of these hazards, and it may not be the last, if violations continue to recur," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "CVS needs to address these hazards to ensure safe and healthful working conditions at its locations. The safety and well-being of its employees depends on it."
Recurring hazards include an obstructed exit route; unsecured and unstable stacks of boxes stored close to fire sprinkler heads; a stairway narrowed to an unsafe width by a conveyor; floors covered by a disorganized assortment of boxes, garbage bags and loose merchandise; and an uncovered electrical junction box. These conditions exposed employees to crushing and struck-by injuries, slips, trips, falls, electric shock and an inability to exit the store swiftly and safely during a fire or emergency. These conditions resulted in the issuance of five repeat citations, with $169,000 in fines. 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. Similar hazards were cited between 2010 and 2012 at CVS stores in Orange, Conn.; Garden City and Sunnyside; and East Providence, R.I.
Five serious citations, carrying $30,500 in proposed fines, involve a locked gate in front of an emergency exit; a stuck and difficult-to-open fire exit door; blocked access to a fire extinguisher; lack of fire extinguisher training for employees; and a missing stairway handrail. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Caremark Corp. is the largest pharmacy health-care provider in the country with more than 3,700 pharmacies/stores nationwide. 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.
The citations can be viewed at https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CVS895172.pdf*.
An interactive eTool addressing evacuation plans and procedures to help businesses implement an emergency action plan and comply with OSHA's emergency standards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/index.html.
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.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.