Rite Aid cited by US Labor Department's OSHA for safety hazards at Kings
Highway store in Brooklyn, NY; proposed fines total more than $83,000
Pennsylvania drugstore chain's workers exposed to fall and laceration hazards
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Rite Aid for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the retailer's store located at 185 Kings Highway in Brooklyn. The drugstore chain faces $83,200 in fines following an inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office opened June 19 as a result of a complaint.
"Significant hazards can exist in retail operations. In this case, employees faced potential injuries from severe lacerations and falls of up to 11 feet due to a lack of required safeguards," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "Employers should take effective steps to ensure that safety measures are in place and in use at all their workplaces."
Inspectors found workers at the Kings Highway store exposed to falls of up to 11 feet through an unguarded opening adjacent to a conveyor used to move stock from the basement to the sales floor level. Workers also faced laceration hazards due to an uncovered section between a conveyor belt and its drive mechanism. In addition, accumulated merchandise and garbage on the storage room floor exposed workers to trip-and-fall hazards.
OSHA issued Rite Aid one repeat citation with a fine of $70,000 for the fall hazard. 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. OSHA cited Rite Aid in 2012 for a similar hazard at another Brooklyn store at 7118 Third Ave.
Two serious citations, carrying $13,200 in fines, were issued for the unguarded conveyor belt and the trip-and-fall hazards. 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.
Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pa., operates 4,600 stores in 31 states. 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.
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.