May 19, 2015
Pier 1 Imports endangers workers again with blocked exits, stacked boxes
National decor retailer faces $101K in fines for hazards at Wisconsin store
GLENDALE, Wis. - Pier 1 Imports' workers in Glendale are the latest group of employees to be put at risk by the national home decor retailer's failure to prevent boxes from blocking aisles and being piled at dangerous heights. Federal workplace safety inspectors have found similar safety hazards at several other U.S. store locations.
After the inspection, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed penalties of $101,420 for Pier 1 Imports Inc. for five repeated, two serious and one other-than-serious violation at the store. OSHA initiated the Glendale inspection in November 2015 based on an employee complaint.
"Haphazardly stacked boxes can fall and injure workers, or block exit routes in an emergency," said Christine Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "Pier 1 must take responsibility to ensure the safety of its workers in all of its stores before someone is hurt or worse."
In addition to unstable boxes and blocked aisles, inspectors cited the Glendale location for:
- Improperly using ladders.
- Exposing employees to fall hazards as stair and storage areas lacked railings.
- Blocking electrical panels.
- Allowing electrical junction boxes to lack covers.
View the citations here.
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Pier 1 Imports Inc. operates more than 1,000 stores in all 50 states and across Canada. The company also sells products in Mexico at select Sears de Mexico "boutique locations." Currently, Pier 1 employs approximately 23,000 people. In 2015, it recorded sales of $1.9 billion.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties 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 Milwaukee area office at 414-297-3315.
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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Release Number: 16-1007-CHI
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