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Region 1 BOS 2003-003
Tuesday, January 7, 2003
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

Conveyor Hazards at Worcester, Mass., CVS Pharmacy Lead to
Nearly $62,000 in OSHA Fines

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Unguarded conveyor belts that exposed workers at a Worcester, Mass., CVS Pharmacy to possible fractures and crushing injuries have resulted in $61,575 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA's inspection of the pharmacy at 500 Grafton St., initiated Nov. 8 in response to a complaint, found that a conveyor belt used to move product between the basement and a first floor storage area lacked guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with its pinch points. According to Ronald E. Morin, OSHA's area director for central and western Massachusetts, two workers in the Worcester store were injured by the unguarded machinery earlier this year.

"What's significant is that CVS was cited for the same hazard at its Danvers, Mass., store in August 2001 and agreed to fix the problem but was again cited in November 2001 for failing to do so," said Morin. "As a result, we're citing the company for an alleged willful violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and proposing a fine of $55,000."

A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The inspection also found that employees were not instructed on how to prevent accidental startups of the conveyor belt while clearing product jams and the company lacked written instructions for doing so. Employees also faced tripping hazards from material stored directly in front of the conveyor. These conditions resulted in three alleged serious violations with $6,375 in proposed fines.

A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

A fine of $200 was proposed for an alleged repeat violation for blocked access to electrical panels. OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has previously been cited for a substantially similar hazard. CVS had been cited in September 2000 for a similar hazard at a Scotia, N.Y., store.

CVS has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, 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 OSHA area office in Springfield conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (413) 785-0123.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit


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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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