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Region 2 News Release: 14-30-NEW/BOS 2013-006
Jan. 14, 2014
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald    Andre Bowser
Phone: 617-565-2075    617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov    bowser.andre.j@dol.gov

Best Buy cited by US Labor Department's
OSHA for blocking emergency exit at Brooklyn, NY, store
Minnesota-based retailer previously cited for similar hazard in Pennsylvania

NEW YORK – After receiving a complaint about a blocked exit at a Brooklyn Best Buy store, and a consequent inspection, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the national electronics chain for one repeat violation of a workplace safety standard. The retailer, which had previously been cited for the same condition, faces a proposed fine of $27,500.

"Retail operations can and do contain significant hazards. This was not the first time that Best Buy has been cited for this type of hazard," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "Employers must take effective steps to ensure that safety measures are in place and in use at all their workplaces and that hazards do not recur."

OSHA's Manhattan Area Office opened its inspection on Dec. 2, 2013, after a concerned shopper provided the agency with a photograph showing an apparently blocked exit at the 625 Atlantic Ave. store. Inspectors found a storefront exit obstructed by an equipment rack, printer and stacked boxes, potentially hindering a swift and safe means of egress for workers in an emergency. OSHA had cited Best Buy in Dec. 2008 for a similar violation at a store in Springfield, Penn.

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.

"One way to prevent hazards before they occur is for an employer to implement an effective illness and injury prevention program in which they will work with their employees to identify, address and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Best Buy Co., with headquarters in Richfield, Minn., has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet 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 Manhattan Area Office at 212-620-3200.

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.


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