A mattress retailer’s repeated failure to reportedly ensure quick emergency exit access for workers at its warehouse facilities in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Florida has resulted in $140,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Mattress Giant Corp. of Addison, Texas, a retailer with 250 stores in 14 states, has been cited for a total of 18 alleged repeat and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following OSHA inspections at warehouse distribution facilities in Manchester, N.H., Franklin, Mass., and Orlando, Fla. The inspections were conducted in response to employee complaints of blocked or locked exits at those worksites.
The inspections, conducted between March and June of this year, reportedly identified several instances in which workers could not exit swiftly in the event of an emergency because piles of mattresses and other stock blocked exit paths, aisles were too narrow, exit signage was deficient or exits were locked. OSHA cited Mattress Giant Corp in July 2001 and October 2002 for similar hazards at its Bedford, N.H., distribution facility. As a result, OSHA has issued four repeat citations – carrying $110,000 in fines – for these latest incidents.
Other hazardous conditions found during the most recent inspections reportedly include untrained and uncertified forklift operators, lack of a chemical hazard communication program and training, no fire extinguisher training, no written emergency action program, a lack of personal protective equipment, exposed live electrical parts and a fall hazard posed by a missing dockplate on a shipping platform. These conditions resulted in 14 serious citations with $30,000 in fines
Mattress Giant Corp., has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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