Brooklyn clothing store cited for Labor Department violations

Bushwick's Pretty Girl not sitting so pretty right now

August 15, 2013 From U.S. Department of Labor
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Pretty Girl Inc., the Brooklyn-based women’s apparel chain, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exit access, electrical, sanitary and housekeeping hazards at its 441 Knickerbocker Ave. store in Brooklyn. It faces $43,890 in proposed fines.

OSHA’s Manhattan Area Office began its inspection on May 1, after the company failed to respond to inquiries about allegations of unsanitary conditions and housekeeping hazards at the store. The inspection found workers exposed to backed-up sewage in the basement storage area; tripping hazards from haphazardly stored boxes, bags and merchandise; and falling pieces from a drop ceiling. This resulted in the issuance of one repeat citation with a $7,700 fine. Similar hazards were cited in 2011 at its 203 E. Fordham Road store in the Bronx.

The exit access hazards at the Brooklyn store include an exit aisle from the basement storage area that was too narrow, nonworking exit lighting and missing exit signs. Other hazards found include the lack of an emergency action plan for fire extinguisher use, uninspected and unmounted fire extinguishers, and electrical hazards. These conditions resulted in the issuance of eight serious violations with $35,420 in fines. The store was also issued one other-than-serious citation with a $770 fine for not maintaining an OSHA illness and injury log.

 “A retail store may not seem like an inherently dangerous place to work, but the conditions found here place employees at risk of being unable to exit the store swiftly in the event of an emergency, electric shock, illness, injuries and burns,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. “The pattern of recurring housekeeping violations is disturbing. This employer needs to examine conditions at all its stores and take effective action to help ensure the safety and well-being of its employees.”

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a condition about which the employer knew or should have known.

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