Target Corporation agreed to pay $464,750 in fines for numerous Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) infractions. The national chain will work to correct exit access and storage hazards and enhance worker safety at about 200 of the retailer’s stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
Although Target initially contested federal regulators’ citations, OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York said that, through this agreement, the big box store chain “is taking steps to proactively address and prevent two of the major safety hazards in the retail industry and maintain safe working conditions for its employees.”
In 2019, between May and December, OSHA regulators cited eight Target locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. The citations involved blocked emergency and fire exits and unsafe storage of materials in backrooms.
“Obstructed emergency exit access impedes employees’ ability to exit swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency and unsafe storage of materials exposes employees to crushing and struck-by hazards. Employers are responsible for supplying their employees with safe and healthful workplaces,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston, Massachusetts.
OSHA regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York expressed his support for the agreement and Target’s attempts to improve worker safety and address other safety problems in its stores. He added that federal regulators “invite other retail employers to consider taking similar actions to protect their employees’ safety and health.”
The agreement includes the following commitments from Target:
- Authorize stores’ management to delay incoming delivery of inventory if needed to ensure safe egress conditions.
- Authorize stores’ management to requisition additional storage capacity, such as storage trailer or offsite storage space, if needed to ensure safe egress conditions.
- Conduct surveillance camera monitoring of egress conditions at select “high-risk” stores.
- Have outside managers visit each store at least twice per year to monitor egress safety and address any problems.
- Arrange unannounced third-party audits of egress safety at each store at least once each year, with a second audit the next quarter if a store fails the initial audit.
- Retrain all affected employees on issues covered by settlement.
- Permit OSHA access to the stores to verify compliance with the settlement agreement and determine if cited conditions were addressed.
Workplace injury lawyers
Beasley Allen handles a variety of cases related to workplace safety, including situations similar to this. While all workers should be guaranteed a safe working environment, all too often we handle cases of serious injuries and deaths resulting from a hazardous work environment. Many times our investigation reveals defective or dangerous machinery was involved, or employers failed to provide adequate protections or ignored safety regulations. If you need more information, contact Kendall Dunson or Evan Allen, lawyers in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section who handle workplace litigation for our firm.