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Risk of workplace accident cited in OSHA fines in Massachusetts

A retail clothing chain has come under fire from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration once again. Forever 21 was cited following an inspection at one of its stores at the Burlington Mall in Dec. 2012. The store was accused of exposing its employees at the Massachusetts location to the risk of a workplace accident.

The issues identified in the OSHA investigation were a repetition of the very same problems OSHA encountered when it previously inspected a Forever 21 store in another state. The prior violations were found in 2011. As a result of the repeat violations, the latest fines against the company total $55,000.

Two workplace safety issues were identified. Stock items were discovered piled in such a manner that employees were placed at risk of injury from falling boxes. Moreover, the emergency exits were either blocked or the passageways otherwise too small to accommodate the safety of the company’s workers.

OSHA indicated that the cited company has several options to choose from upon receipt of the notice of violations. Within 15 business days, Forever 21 must pay the fines and correct the underlying safety problems. In the alternative, it can request a meeting with the area director for OSHA to attempt to conciliate the findings. Finally, the store also has the option of formally contesting the OSHA findings.

A company’s failure to follow safety procedures places its employees at greater risk of a workplace accident. This retailer must now answer to OSHA once again for the same issues that were discovered in another of its stores in New Jersey. Apart from the potential imposition of significant fines by OSHA, those store workers who suffer an injury on the job are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Professional assistance is available to help with the timely filing and processing of claims in Massachusetts to ensure that all benefits to which a worker is entitled are received.

Source: Burlington, MA Patch, “Burlington Business Cited for Workforce Safety Violations,” Richard Hosford, Feb. 13, 2013