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Region 1 News Release: 05-1588-BOS/BOS 2005-221
Monday, August 22, 2005
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074


OSHA Fines Auto Parts Retailer $73,000 for Fall and Emergency Exit Hazards at Merrimack, N.H., Warehouse Store

CONCORD, N.H. -- Fall hazards and an obstructed exit at a Merrimack, N.H., warehouse store have resulted in a total of $73,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

V.I.P. Discount Auto Parts, based in Lewiston, Maine, was cited for one alleged willful and two alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards following an OSHA inspection prompted by an employee complaint.

OSHA cited the company for willfully exposing workers to falls by failing to provide stair towers long enough to reach the top rows of 16-foot storage racks safely. To remove tires from the uppermost rows, workers climbed on the stair tower's railings or the storage rack's shelving, both of which provided hazardous access. The company was fined $70,000 for this willful violation, which is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

"Company management clearly knew about this hazard but did not address it, even though the issue had repeatedly been raised by workers and store management," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's New Hampshire area director. "It shouldn't take a significant fine to compel an employer to supply a basic, necessary and clearly- recognized safeguard."

OSHA's inspection also found that the store lacked signs to clearly direct workers to emergency exits and that one of the emergency exit doors was welded shut, rendering it unusable. These conditions resulted in two serious citations and $3,000 in fines. A serious violation is a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee.

V.I.P. Discount Auto Parts has 15 business days from receipt of the 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 investigation was conducted by OSHA's Concord area office, telephone (603) 225-1629.

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.


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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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