Fast fashion retailer Forever 21 has been cited for repeat workplace safety violations and could be fined $236,500 for it.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the citation Tuesday saying Forever 21 exposed employees to safety hazards at a store in Paramus, N.J. and one in Manhattan, N.Y. OSHA has proposed $236,500 in fines as a penalty for the violations.
OSHA inspected both stores in July after receiving complaints. They cited the company for four repeat violations in the Paramus store for reasons including: “obstructed exit routes; a fire extinguisher that was not mounted and readily accessible; stored material that was not secured against sliding or collapse; and fluorescent lights that had no cover to prevent accidental contact or breakage.”
The Manhattan store was hit for two repeat violations for obstructed exit routes and fluorescent lights with no covers, and because the store was not kept “clean and orderly.”
Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York said, “It is unacceptable for Forever 21 to continue repeating these violations, which are common among retailers, and put workers at serious risk.” He added that, “Retail managers have a legal responsibility to inspect their stores, identify potential hazards and quickly eliminate them to ensure worker safety and health.”
OSHA issues repeat citations when a similar violation is found at any of the employer’s facilities within five years of a previous citation and Forever 21 was cited in 2012 for similar issues. Serious citations are given “when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard,” according to OSHA.
Forever 21 has fifteen days from the time they receive the citation to either comply, meet with an OSHA area director or contest the citation before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.