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Region 2 News Release:    05-103-NEW/BOS 2005-028
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005
Contacts: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074


Rite-Aid of New York Faces $144,700 in OSHA Fines for Locked and Blocked Exits and Other Safety Hazards at Bronx Stores

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Safety hazards at 11 Bronx Rite Aid stores have resulted in Rite-Aid of New York Inc. being fined a total of $144,700 by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Hazards included locked or blocked emergency exits, obstructed exit routes, missing exit signs and inadequate fire extinguisher training.

"Strong enforcement is a key part of this Administration's efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $144,700 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."

The citations and fines are the result of OSHA inspections of Rite-Aid stores in the Bronx between August 2004 and January 2005. The inspection of the 2138 White Plains Rd. store was in response to an employee complaint about a locked exit. The other 10 inspections were conducted to monitor the company's compliance with an April 2004 settlement agreement in which Rite Aid paid $90,000 in fines for previous violations and promised that all exit doors at its facilities would remain unlocked during working hours.

These latest OSHA inspections found a total of nine instances of locked or blocked exits, obstructed exit access, inadequate exit route lighting or aisles too narrow to ensure swift and safe egress in an emergency. Additional fire-related safety hazards included several instances where exit route signs and other required exit signage were not posted, in addition to unmounted or blocked fire extinguishers and failure to train workers on fire extinguisher use. Other hazards included an unguarded cardboard compactor, failure to keep walking surfaces clean and unstable storage of bulk material.

Rite Aid of New York was issued one willful citation, with a $40,000 fine, for a locked emergency exit and obstructed exit access at the White Plains Rd. store. Remaining hazards at this or the other 10 stores resulted in $92,700 in fines for 12 repeat citations and $12,000 in fines for eight serious citations. A list of citations and fines by store is attached.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar hazard in the past and that citation has become final. A serious citation is issued when death or serious injury is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Tarrytown area office, 660 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, N.Y. The office's telephone number is (914) 451-0808.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships, and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

Fact Sheet OSHA Citations and Penalties to Rite Aid of New York, Inc. by Store

2158 White Plains Rd. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $56,500
  • One willful citation, with a $40,000 fine, for a security roll down gate locked over emergency exit doors and failure to maintain free and unobstructed exit routes.
  • One repeat citation, with a $15,000 penalty, for a blocked fire extinguisher and no fire extinguisher training.
  • One serious citation, with a $1,500 fine, for unsecured helium tanks.
49 West Fordham Rd. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $18,000
  • Two repeat citations, with $15,000 in fines, for: exit access less than 28 inches wide and lack of fire extinguisher training.
  • Two serious citations, with $3,000 in fines, for: for lack of a sign indicating direction of travel to the nearest exit and lack of a "Not an Exit" sign where required; and lack of stair railing on open side of stairs.
1091 Ogden Ave. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $15,000
  • Two repeat citations, with $15,000 in fines, for: unmounted fire extinguisher and lack of fire extinguisher training; and exit access less than 28 inches wide.
239 E. 198th St. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $11,500
  • One repeat citation, with a $10,000 fine, for an unguarded cardboard compactor.
  • One serious citation, with a fine of $1,500, for an absent "Not an Exit" sign.
32 E. 170th St. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $9,200
  • Two repeat citations, with $7,700 in fines, for an unmarked exit door and lack of material safety data sheets.
  • One serious citation, with a fine of $1,500, inadequate exit route lighting and no sign indicating direction to nearest exit.
691 Co-Op City Blvd. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $9,000
  • One repeat citation, with a $7,500 fine, for blocked exit route.
  • One serious citation, with a $1,500 fine, for lack of a sign indicating direction of travel to the nearest exit and lack of a "Not an Exit" sign where required.
3085 E. Tremont Ave. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $7,500
  • One repeat citation, with a fine of $7,500, for a locked exit door.
3040 Eastchester Rd. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $7,500
  • One repeat citation, with a $7,500 fine, for a blocked exit route and exit access less than 28 inches wide.
88 Featherbed Ln. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $7,500
  • One repeat citation, with $7,500 in fines, for unmounted fire extinguishers and lack of fire extinguisher training
1998 Bruckner Rd. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $3,000
  • Two serious citations, with $3,000 in fines, for walking surfaces not kept clean; and unstable storage of bulk material.
815 E. Tremont Ave. Bronx, N.Y. Total proposed fine: $0
  • One other than serious citation for an absent "Not an Exit" sign.
Total Proposed Penalties for All Inspections: $144,700


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U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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