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Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 11-1364-ATL (471)
Sept. 29, 2011
Contact: Michael D'Aquino Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076 404-562-2078
Email: d'

Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Huntsville, Ala., cited by US Department of
Labor's OSHA for safety violations; $128,000 proposed in fines

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Sears, Roebuck and Co. for seven safety violations found during an inspection of the company's department store in Huntsville, including exposing workers to blocked exits, among other hazards. Proposed penalties total $128,000.

Three repeat violations with $110,000 in penalties involve blocking exit access with retail material and equipment, failing to post signs along exit routes and failing to repair damaged racks that caused stored merchandise to be unstable. 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 facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Company locations in New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania were cited for the same or similar violations in 2007, 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Three serious violations with $18,000 in proposed penalties have been cited for failing to provide an adequate number of exits in a stockroom, properly mark a door with a "not an exit" sign and dispose promptly of flammable waste. 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 also has been cited for one other-than-serious violation with no monetary penalty for failing to provide a list of hazardous materials for its hazard communication program. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"The managers of Sears, Roebuck and Co. repeatedly have demonstrated a disregard for their employees' safety by failing to correct workplace hazards that previously were brought to their attention," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees have a safety and healthful work environment."

Sears, Roebuck and Co., a retailer with more than 4,000 full-line and specialty retail stores, is a division of Sears Holding Corp. in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

The citations can be viewed at*

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office, located at 950 N. 22 St., Suite 1050, Birmingham, Ala. 35203; telephone 205-731-1534. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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


U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at 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.