OHSA Prescribes Rite Aid $60,500 Fine for Blocked Emergency Exits

On Nov. 30, 2010, an OSHA inspector found two of the store's emergency exits blocked by filled totes and wooden crates, and informed management that the exits must not be blocked.

OSHA has cited Rite Aid Pharmacy for one alleged willful violation of workplace safety standards relating to blocked emergency exits at the chain's store in Brooklyn, N.Y. The agency has proposed a $60,500 fine.

On Nov. 30, 2010, an OSHA inspector found two of the store's emergency exits blocked by filled totes and wooden crates, and informed management that the exits must not be blocked. Upon returning to the store on Dec. 2, the inspector observed one of the exits blocked again, this time by boxes and a hand truck.

"The sizable fine proposed here reflects both the seriousness of this hazard and management's knowledge of its existence," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. "There is nothing arcane or complex about the need for clear and immediate access to exits in the event of a fire or other emergency. An obstructed exit can delay evacuation at a time when every second counts and workers' lives and well-being are at risk."

"One means of addressing and eliminating such hazards is by establishing and maintaining an effective illness and injury prevention program, through which management and workers proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

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