CVS Pharmacy Fined $89,000 for Hazards in Connecticut

OSHA has proposed a total of $89,000 in fines against CVS Pharmacy Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards following an inspection of the retailer's store in Orange, Conn.

The agency found that employees working in the store's stockroom were not provided with unobstructed and effective emergency exit routes due to containers and pallets blocking the routes. OSHA had cited CVS in 2007 for similar conditions at stores in Darien, Conn., and New York City. As a result, OSHA issued CVS one repeat citation with a $70,000 fine for this recurring hazard.

The inspection of the Orange store also identified an unmarked exit door, unmounted fire extinguishers, no fire extinguisher training for workers, and lack of a site-specific emergency action plan for employees to follow in the event of a fire or other emergency. In addition, boxes of stock were stored in tiers that were not stacked, secured, or limited in height to prevent them from collapsing on workers. These conditions resulted in the issuance of six serious citations, with $19,000 in fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

"A fire or other emergency can erupt swiftly, making it imperative that workers have both unobstructed exit routes and effective working knowledge on how to safely and quickly exit the workplace," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport, Conn. "For the safety and health of its workers, CVS needs to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place and in use at all of its locations."

An interactive eTool addressing evacuation plans and procedures to help businesses implement an emergency action plan and comply with OSHA's emergency standards is available online at www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/index.html.

CVS has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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