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Source: US Department of Labor

NEW YORK, NY – The U.S. Department of Labor has executed a region wide corporate settlement agreement with Target Corp. 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.

Between May and December 2019, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited eight Target locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York for numerous violations involving blocked or obstructed access to emergency exits and fire exit routes and/or unsafe storage of materials in stores’ backrooms and storage areas.

Target Corp. initially contested its citations but with this settlement, it will pay $464,750 in penalties and implement enhanced actions to abate and prevent egress and storage safety issues at all Target stores in the four states over the next two years.

“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.

“Under this agreement, Target Corporation 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,”  said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York.

“We are pleased that Target Corporation has chosen to resolve these cases by taking positive steps in worker safety, and we invite other retail employers to consider taking similar actions to protect their employees’ safety and health,” said regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.

Under the agreement, Target Corp. will build on its existing safety programs through the following commitments:

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.

The Department filed a joint notification of the settlement of the New York cases with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on October 15, 2020, and filed a joint notification of the settlement of the Massachusetts and Connecticut cases on October 16, 2020. The settlement will become a final order 30 days after the docketing of the Administrative Law Judge’s Order Terminating Proceedings. Attorneys  Daniel Hennefeld, Andrew Katz and Peter Nessen in the regional solicitor offices in Boston, Massachusetts and New York negotiated the settlement. The OSHA area offices in Bridgeport and Hartford, Connecticut; Braintree, North Andover and Springfield, Massachusetts; Long Island, New York; and Avenel, New Jersey, with jurisdiction for stores located in Staten Island, New York; conducted the original inspections.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Scalia v. Target Corporation 

OSHRC Docket Nos.:  19-1010, 19-0831, 19-1470, 19-1032, 19-1708, 19-1147, 20-0222, 20-0223.

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