Forever 21 Settles OSHA Case

The Los Angeles-based clothing retailer has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty.

Los Angeles-based clothing retailer Forever 21 Retail Inc. has agreed to pay $100,000 in penalties to OSHA in settling an enforcement case stemming from safety violations at its Westfarms Mall store in Farmington, Conn., according to the agency, which said the case should remind employers of the critical need for unobstructed emergency exit routes.

OSHA cited Forever 21 last May, penalizing it $165,000 for a repeat violation, after its inspection of the store found boxes piled as high as 10 feet and stacked in an unstable manner so that they blocked exit routes or could fall onto workers. The company contested the citations and penalties but has now reached an agreement in which it agrees to abate the cited hazards, OSHA announced Dec. 17.

"Retailers should stock products safely and away from emergency exits, especially during the holiday season when store stock increases. Additionally, retailers must avoid stacking boxes so high that they could tip or fall and strike an employee," said Kim Stille, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Proper safeguards will prevent needless and avoidable injuries."

"While the settlement resolves this case, it also sends a message to Forever 21 and other retailers, either stand-alone businesses or multiple-store enterprises, that it's their responsibility under the law to take effective steps to protect employees at their establishments, wherever located, against these hazards," said Michael Felsen, the regional solicitor of labor for New England.

The settlement will become a final order after it is approved by an administrative law judge and docketed with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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