OSHA Tackles Dick's Sporting Goods for Safety Hazards at N.Y. Store

"Even in a retail outlet, employees can be exposed to deadly or disabling hazards if the proper safeguards and training are absent, as they were here," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany.

OSHA has cited Dick's Sporting Goods for six alleged violations of workplace safety standards after an OSHA inspection identified several hazards at the retailer's store at the Aviation Mall in Queensbury, N.Y. The Pennsylvania-based retailer faces a total of $57,300 in proposed fines.

OSHA inspectors found that workers at the Queensbury store were periodically required to enter a trash compactor that had not first been de-energized in order to remove cardboard blockages. Additionally, the store lacked the means and procedures for employees to enter and work safely in such a confined space, and training was not provided on the hazards and safeguards associated with work in a confined space. Finally, access to fire extinguishers was blocked and employees were not trained in how to use fire extinguishers in the event of a fire.

"Even in a retail outlet, employees can be exposed to deadly or disabling hazards if the proper safeguards and training are absent, as they were here," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "These workers could have been crushed or burned. For the safety and health of all of its employees, I urge this employer to examine safety and health issues at its other stores and promptly take corrective action."

Two repeat violations with $33,000 in fines were cited for the blocked fire extinguishers and lack of fire extinguisher training. Four serious violations with $24,300 in fines were cited for the confined space hazards and a missing fire extinguisher.

The repeat citations stem from OSHA having cited the retailer in May 2010 for similar hazards at a Melville, N.Y., store.

"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program in which workers and management continually work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

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