The electronics retail giant Best Buy has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a workplace safety violation — having a blocked emergency exit at its Brooklyn store at 625 Atlantic Avenue. The agency conducted an investigation after receiving a complaint about the blocked exit. The chain had previously been cited for the same violation at a Pennsylvania store.
The complaint was filed not by an employee but by a shopper at the store . OSHA began the inspection on Dec. 2, 1013. The inspection revealed a storefront exit blocked by racks, boxes and a printer. Workers and shoppers would not have had a clear exit in the event of an emergency.
Because of the complaint at the Pennsylvania store, Best Buy received a repeat violation. A repeat violation occurs when an employer is cited for the same or similar violation at any of its facilities within the previous five years.
The regional administrator in New York, Robert Kulick, said that employee education was the best way to prevent repeat violations of workplace safety. He said, “One way to prevent hazards before they occur is for an employer to implement an effective illness and injury prevention program in which they will work with their employees to identify, address and eliminate hazards.”
Best Buy has 15 days to comply, meet with the OSHA area director, or dispute the findings in front of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. According to the area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, “Retail operations can and do contain significant hazards. This was not the first time that Best Buy has been cited for this type of hazard,” said Kay Gee. “Employers must take effective steps to ensure that safety measures are in place and in use at all their workplaces and that hazards do not recur.”
Source: Brooklyn Eagle, “Best Buy cited by OSHA for blocking emergency exit at Brooklyn store,” Jan. 14, 2014.