US Labor Department's OSHA cites Rebecca Minkoff LLC with $77,000 in
fines for exit access hazards at company's Manhattan office and showroom
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Rebecca Minkoff LLC for willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the fashion retailer's corporate office and showroom at 33 W. 17th St. in Manhattan. The company, which manufactures handbags, accessories and apparel for women, faces $77,000 in fines for hazardous conditions that include impeding a swift and safe exit in case of emergency. The citations and fines follow an inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office that was prompted by worker complaints.
"Workers may have only seconds to escape in the event of a fire or other emergency. It's critical to maintain swift, clear access to emergency exits, and it is a requirement under the law," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director in Manhattan. "Management knew of the hazard of compromised emergency exit access, yet allowed the hazard to continue. Because of that, we are proposing the maximum fines allowable for the willful and serious violations."
OSHA found that many of the sixth floor offices and the showroom space was overcrowded and congested with boxes, rolling racks, workstations, chairs, equipment, storage and other materials. As a result, the path to the emergency exit door was not accessible; aisles, pathways and a hallway were blocked; and a workstation was installed directly in front of emergency exit doors. These conditions posed slip, trip and fall hazards for workers.
OSHA issued Rebecca Minkoff LLC one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $70,000, for the exit access hazards. One serious citation was issued, with a $7,000 fine, for the slip, trip and fall hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. 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.
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.
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.