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Region 2 News Release: 13-2139-NEW/BOS 2013-196
Nov. 18, 2013
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald    Andre J. Bowser
Phone: 617-565-2075    617-565-2074
Email: : fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov    bowser.andre.j@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Big Lots Stores Inc., proposes $169,000
in fines for exit access, crushing, struck-by hazards at West Babylon, NY, store
Columbus, Ohio-based retail chain previously cited in Ala., Mass. and Penn.

WESTBURY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Big Lots Stores Inc. for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection begun on May 15 in response to a complaint about its 501 Montauk Ave. store in West Babylon. The Columbus, Ohio, retail chain faces $169,000 in proposed fines.

"The size of these fines reflects both the severity of these hazards and the recurrence of similar violations at the company's other stores," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's area director for Long Island. "For the safety and well-being of its employees, Big Lots needs to address these conditions effectively at all its locations."

OSHA found several hazardous conditions similar to those previously cited at Big Lots stores in Alabama, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, including exit routes and aisles blocked by piles and pallets of merchandise, as well as improperly stacked boxes containing merchandise. The obstructed aisles and exit routes compromise safe exiting in an emergency, while the improperly stacked boxes, some of which were crushed and leaning, could fall and strike workers.

These conditions resulted in OSHA issuing Big Lots three repeat citations with $147,000 in fines. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any of its facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

The inspection of the West Babylon store also resulted in the issuance of five serious citations with $22,000 in fines. These citations regard the store's failure to properly mark and post aisles, and exit routes and doors that could be mistaken for exits; lack of portable fire extinguisher training; and lack of training, material safety data sheets and a written hazard communication program for workers using chemical cleansers. 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 citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/BigLots906749111513.pdf*.

Big Lots Stores Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

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 Long Island Area Office at 516-334-3344.

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.


* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.


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