OSHA Pledges to Protect Wilkes-Barre Area Retail Store Workers

As the holiday season starts, the agency wants to help keep workers safe.

OSHA is launching an enforcement initiative focused on protecting people employed in the retail industry, according to a report out of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The Regional Emphasis Program for the Retail Industry will develop a program of safety inspections of certain retail establishments, focusing on exits, material handling, and electrical hazards.

"Unfortunately, retail establishments - including some of the nation's leading retailers - have a long history of leaving workers vulnerable to unnecessary hazards that can cause injuries and possibly death," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's Regional Administrator in Philadelphia. "Our initiative seeks to ensure that retail employers are fulfilling their responsibilities and keeping workers safe from common, and easily correctable, hazards such as blocked exits and storing merchandise in unsafe manners. A busy season is no excuse for ignoring safety."

According to the agency's release, OSHA has handed out more than $1 million in fines to employers in the retail store industry across the country, and since 2013, inspectors in the Philadelphia region have conducted 313 inspections of retail establishments with 191 of those inspections involving citations. The emphasis program will cover counties under the jurisdiction of the Wilkes-Barre area office: Bradford, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming.

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