A blocked emergency exit and improperly stored stock put the employees of the Guess? Factory Store at the Tanger Outlet Mall at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut at risk of burns, lacerations and being struck by falling objects, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.
Responding to a complaint, OSHA began an inspection on March 3, 2016, and found the employer allowed the following hazardous conditions:
- Obstruction of the store’s emergency exit route by boxes containing clothes, shoes and hangers, as well as by a folding table.
- Blocked access to electrical panels that power the store’s operations by several boxes of clothing and hangers, eight storage shelves and two extension ladders.
- Unsafe stacking of boxes of hangers, shoes and accessories in the storage room and in the bathroom were in danger of toppling onto employees.
“These were obvious and easily preventable conditions that placed store employees needlessly at risk,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Overstocking and improper stocking of goods prevents employees from exiting* the workplace swiftly and safely in the event of a fire or other emergency. This is not the first time that Guess? has been cited for blocked access. To ensure the well-being of its employees, Guess? must effectively address these issues at all its locations.”
OSHA has cited Guess? for two repeat violations, one serious violation and one other than serious violation of workplace safety standards and proposed fines totaling $65,000. The repeat violations stem from similar violations cited in 2013 at the Guess? Jersey Gardens Mall store in Linden, New Jersey. The other-than-serious violation is for the Foxwoods store’s failure to post a notice informing employees of their rights to a safe and healthful workplace and to contact OSHA with questions and concerns.
Los Angeles-based Guess? was given 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.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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