Last month, we reported on a recent OSHA memorandum directing inspectors to target workplace exit routes and discussed the ways employers can achieve compliance. This week we bring you related news out of Region 2 where on July 16th, OSHA announced that Duane Reade, Inc. was cited for blocked exit routes and fire safety hazards. The drugstore chain was issued three repeat citations, totaling $71,500 in proposed penalties where OSHA alleges that “an emergency exit door, sprinkler system heads and an electrical panel in the store were all blocked or obstructed by piles of boxes and crates of merchandise” at the chain’s 598 Broadway location.
In light of these events, employers should be sure to audit their exit routes to confirm (1) there are an adequate number for employees, (2) they are free and unobstructed, and (3) they are properly labeled and maintained. Employers can also consult our previous post on exit route enforcement and OSHA’s Emergency Exit Routes Fact Sheet for further guidance on compliance.