Best Buy cited by OSHA for blocking emergency exit at Brooklyn store
After receiving a complaint about a blocked exit at the Brooklyn Best Buy store at 625 Atlantic Ave., in the Atlantic Center mall, 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.
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