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Serious safety violations could cause work injury: Big Lots Inc.

Although the Big Lots store in Wisconsin has not yet been involved, its stores in four other states have been cited by OSHA. The latest citations included repeat offenses that are regarded as serious by OSHA as some of the violations are recurrences of others cited at branches in other states. Various hazardous conditions that could cause accidents resulting in a work injury were identified once again.

The inspection at the West Babylon store followed a complaint received about the store. After the conclusion of the inspection, OSHA proposed $169,000 in fines. The area director of OSHA pointed out that the severity and recurrence of the violations are clearly reflected in the size of the proposed fines. The wellbeing and safety of the employees are compromised by various hazards, and OSHA issued instructions that these conditions need to be addressed at the various Big Lots stores.

The conditions found hazardous by OSHA included aisles and exit routes that were obscured due to pallets and piles of merchandise, compromising a safe exit in case of emergency. It was also noted the stacks of merchandise could fall over and cause injuries to workers. Other violations included aisles and exits that were not properly marked which could be a hazard if individuals should have to quickly exit in case of an emergency.

Workers also need to be properly trained when working with chemical cleaning materials, and it appears Big Lots employees did not receive that training. This can also be a serious violation and can lead to a work accident. Wisconsin employees faced with this situation or a similar situation where they have suffered a work injury may benefit from looking into their rights under the applicable state laws. Thankfully for employees there are laws in place to protect employees in these situations by providing workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and missed time from work while recovering.

Source: environmental-expert.com, US Labor Department`s OSHA cites Big Lots Stores Inc., proposes $169,000 in fines for exit access, crushing, struck-by hazards at West Babylon, NY, store, No author, Nov. 18, 2013

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