OSHA Sweep of Bronx, N.Y., Rite Aids Results in $144,700 in fines

OSHA has issued $144,700 in total fines for 11 Rite Aid stores in the Bronx, N.Y., for locked and blocked emergency exits and other alleged safety hazards.

Hazards also included obstructed exit routes, missing exit signs and inadequate fire extinguisher training, according to the agency.

The citations and fines are the result of OSHA inspections of Rite Aid stores in the Bronx between August 2004 and January 2005. The inspection of the 2138 White Plains Rite Road Aid was in response to an employee complaint about a locked exit. The other 10 inspections were conducted to monitor the company's compliance with an April 2004 settlement agreement in which Rite Aid paid $90,000 in fines for previous violations and promised that all exit doors at its facilities would remain unlocked during working hours, the agency said.

These latest OSHA inspections found a total of nine instances of locked or blocked exits, obstructed exit access, inadequate exit route lighting or aisles too narrow to ensure swift and safe egress in an emergency, according to OSHA. Additional fire-related safety hazards included several instances in which exit route signs and other required exit signage were not posted, in addition to unmounted or blocked fire extinguishers and failure to train workers on fire extinguisher use. Other hazards included an unguarded cardboard compactor, failure to keep walking surfaces clean and unstable storage of bulk material, the agency said.

One willful citation issued

Rite Aid of New York was issued one willful citation, with a $40,000 fine, for a locked emergency exit and obstructed exit access at the White Plains Road store. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Remaining hazards at the White Plains Road store or the other 10 stores resulted in $92,700 in fines for 12 repeat citations and $12,000 in fines for eight serious citations. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar hazard in the past and that citation has become final. A serious citation is issued when death or serious injury is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Citations, followed by total proposed OSHA fines, were issued to the following Bronx, N.Y., Rite Aid stores:

  • 2158 White Plains Road; $56,500
  • 49 West Fordham Road; $18,000
  • 1091 Ogden Ave.; $15,000
  • 239 E. 198th St.; $11,500
  • 32 E. 170th St.; $9,200
  • 691 Co-Op City Blvd.; $9,000
  • 3085 E. Tremont Ave.; $7,500
  • 3040 Eastchester Road; $7,500
  • 88 Featherbed Lane; $7,500
  • 1998 Bruckner Road; $3,000
  • 815 E. Tremont Ave.; no fine

Rite Aid has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to appeal. The inspections were conducted by OSHA's Tarrytown, N.Y., area office.

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