OSHA Cites New York Home Goods Company for Workplace Dangers

July 22, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Idea Nuova for 22 alleged violations of workplace safety standards at the company’s Manhattan and Brooklyn locations. The company, which provides a variety of home goods for retail sale, faces a total of $82,800 in proposed fines following inspections by OSHA’s Manhattan Area Office. Inspections began in April in response to complaints and covered the company’s warehouse, sales office and showroom facilities at 302 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan and 80 Richards St. in Brooklyn.

At both locations, OSHA found obstructed exit routes, propped open emergency exit doors to enclosed stairways, blocked access to electrical panels and unmounted fire extinguishers. In the event of a fire, the open exit doors would allow an upward draft of air that could intensify and spread the fire. This could potentially block employees’ egress and increase the possibility of employees trapped in a fire without the ability to exit the building.

At the Manhattan location, an emergency exit door was stuck in its frame and needed to be forced open; exit route signs were missing; a restroom lacked hot, running water; access to fire extinguishers were blocked; and employees were not trained to use fire extinguishers. In Brooklyn, aisles were blocked and material was stocked too close to sprinkler heads, floor holes were uncovered, employees were exposed to live electrical parts and powered industrial truck operators did not receive required refresher training.

“Left uncorrected, the conditions found at these workplaces exposes employees to the hazards of fire, electric shock, struck-by injuries and the inability to exit swiftly and safely in the event of a fire or other emergency,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. “Prompt, effective and ongoing corrective action by this employer is necessary to guard the safety and well-being of its employees.”

OSHA issued Idea Nuova 19 serious citations, with $81,000 in fines. Three other-than-serious violations, with $1,800 in fines, were issued for record keeping and electrical hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Idea Nuova has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: OSHA

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