Feds cite Kings Highway Rite Aid for safety violations; fines could be $83K

December 19, 2013 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Rite Aid for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the retailer’s store located at 185 Kings Highway in Brooklyn.

The drugstore chain faces $83,200 in fines following an inspection by OSHA’s Manhattan Area Office.

“Significant hazards can exist in retail operations. In this case, employees faced potential injuries from severe lacerations and falls of up to 11 feet due to a lack of required safeguards,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. “Employers should take effective steps to ensure that safety measures are in place and in use at all their workplaces.”

Inspectors found workers at the Kings Highway store exposed to falls of up to 11 feet through an unguarded opening adjacent to a conveyor used to move stock from the basement to the sales floor level.

Workers also faced hazards due to an uncovered section between a conveyor belt and its drive mechanism. In addition, accumulated merchandise and garbage on the storage room floor exposed workers to trip-and-fall hazards.

OSHA issued Rite Aid one repeat citation with a fine of $70,000 for the fall hazard. 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 of its facilities locally within the last five years.

OSHA had cited Rite Aid in 2012 for a similar hazard at another Brooklyn store at 7118 Third Ave.

In addition to the $70,000, two serious citations, carrying $13,200 in fines, were issued for the unguarded conveyor belt and the trip-and-fall hazards.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a condition that the owner should have known about, or knew about.

Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pa., operates 4,600 stores in 31 states.

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