Numerous safety infractions, including the barring of an emergency exit door,
have resulted in $92,000 in proposed fines against Rite Aid of New York, Inc.,
located at 911 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, New York.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
has cited the company, which operates a pharmacy/drugstore, for alleged willful,
serious and repeat violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The
company has until Feb. 21, 2003, to contest the citations.
According to Diana Cortez, OSHA's Area Director in Tarrytown, N.Y., the action
results from an investigation conducted from Aug. 1, 2002 through Jan. 28, 2003,
in response to a complaint about blocked exits and fire extinguishers. In stressing
the severity of the alleged violations, Cortez said, "Fire safety violations
are always serious because of their potential to cost workers their lives."
As a result of OSHA's inspection, the company has been cited for one alleged
willful violation of a federal safety and health standard, which carries a proposed
penalty of $55,000. The alleged willful violation includes the employer's practice
of keeping an emergency exit door fastened with a metal bar during working hours.
The company was also cited for five alleged serious violations carrying proposed
penalties totaling $12,000. These included the employer's failure to: provide
an unobstructed way of exit; provide unobstructed access to fire extinguishers;
provide unobstructed access to electrical panels; maintain sufficiently wide
access to exit; and provide training in fire extinguisher use to designated
Finally, the company was cited for two alleged repeat violations with proposed
penalties totaling $25,000, including failure to post an exit sign where required
and failure to provide annually required training on fire extinguishers.
A "willful" violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an
intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the
Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A "serious" violation
is cited for hazards that pose a substantial probability to cause death or serious
physical harm. A "repeat" violation is issued when an employer was
cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has
become a final order.