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Burlington Business Cited for Workforce Safety Violations

Forever 21 in the Burlington Mall is facing up to $55,000 in fines from OSHA.

A Burlington business has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing workers to excess hazards.

According to a release from OSHA, the organization has cited Forever 21 with two alleged repeat violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection of the retailer’s Burlington store.

According to the release, the retail chain faces a total of $55,000 in proposed fines for exposing workers to struck-by and exit access hazards following a December 2012 inspection by OSHA’s Andover Area Office.

"Workers at the Burlington Mall Forever 21 store faced the hazards of being struck by boxes that fell from piles of stock in the store’s back room that were not secured against collapse or displacement," the release states.

The release also states that emergency exits were blocked by boxes or avenues were too narrow for safety.

“Improper storage of stock and inadequate exit routes can and do put workers at risk of serious and severe injury,” said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA’s area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. “Particularly disturbing is that these same hazards were previously found at another Forever 21 store. An employer with multiple locations, such as Forever 21, must ensure that safe and healthful working conditions are maintained at all its workplaces.”

As a result, Forever 21 was issued two repeat citations with $55,000 in fines for these recurring hazards. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited Forever 21 in 2011 for similar hazards at its Bridgewater, N.J., store. 

According to the release, Forever 21 has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Multiple attempts to reach someone from Forever 21 who could speak on the record about the allegations were not succesfull.

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