Two J.C. Penney Stores Penalized for Repeat Hazards in Pennsylvania

OSHA has cited J.C. Penney Co. for exposing workers to previously cited electrical hazards and obstructed exit routes at its Langhorne and Whitehall, Pa., stores. Proposed penalties total $80,700.

"The violations cited leave J.C. Penney employees at risk of serious injury and must be corrected," said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA's Area Office in Allentown, Pa. "Retail managers are strongly encouraged to routinely inspect their stores, identify potential hazards, and quickly eliminate those hazards to ensure worker safety and health."

OSHA initiated its inspection of the Langhorne store on Jan. 7 under its Local Emphasis Program for Retail Stores. As a result of the inspection, investigators have cited the Langhorne store with five repeat violations carrying a penalty of $40,200 and six serious violations carrying a penalty of $12,500.

The agency's inspection of the Whitehall store began on Feb. 24 and has resulted in a citation for two repeat violations with a penalty of $20,000 and two serious violations with a penalty of $8,000.

The repeat and serious violations found at both stores include the company's failure to maintain exit routes, as well as walking and working surfaces that were free and unobstructed, to implement a hazard communication program, and to protect employees from electrical hazards.

A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule, or order at any other facilities in federal enforcement states within the last three years. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Both stores have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Allentown, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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