HUNTSVILLE, ALA. – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Huntsville department store for a number of safety violations the agency says endangered store employees. A recent OSHA inspection of Sears, Roebuck and Co. turned up seven violations that altogether brought the company $128,000 in proposed penalties.
Three repeat violations accounted for most of the proposed fines. Those violations involved exits blocked by retail materials and equipment, failing to repair damaged racks that caused merchandise to become unstable in various storage areas, and failing to post signs along exit routes. The three repeat violations accounted for $110,000 of the proposed penalties.
“The managers of Sears, Roebuck and Co. repeatedly have demonstrated a disregard for their employees’ safety by failing to correct workplace hazards that previously were brought to their attention,” said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA’s area director in Birmingham. “Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees have a safe and healthful work environment.”
OSHA also cited Sears with three serious violations for failing to provide an adequate number of exits in a stockroom, failing to properly mark a door with a “not an exit” sign, and neglecting to promptly dispose of flammable waste. OSHA deems safety violations serious when they represent a substantial risk of serious physical harm and/or death about which the employer knew or should have known.
One other violation was issued for the company’s failure to provide a list of hazardous materials for its hazard communication program, but that penalty involved no monetary fine. All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must prepare and implement a written hazard communication program, and must ensure that all containers are labeled, employees are provided access to material safety data sheets, and an effective training program is conducted for all potentially exposed employees.