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OSHA fines retail chains for padlocked, blocked emergency exit doors



The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two Dollar General stores in Ohio and Wisconsin to jeopardize the safety of its employees after inspectors found emergency exits were not available.

In Baldwin, Wisconsin, OSHA inspectors responded to a referral from local fire officials in December 2021 and found emergency exit doors closed and padlocked on the inside with a bicycle lock and a board. Boxes of goods blocked the exit. In an emergency, these conditions would prevent workers and others from leaving the store through these emergency exits.

Store managers told OSHA inspectors that the exit doors needed to be repaired to close properly and that they were often padlocked and blocked with a sign while employees were present. OSHA determined that Dollar General had left the door in disrepair since September 2021

. Fire officials inspected the store 11 times in 2021 and ordered the facility to be closed six times due to hazardous conditions.

OSHA issued four deliberate citations to block emergency exits, exits and fire extinguishers and to not leave enough space around electrical panels. The agency proposed a fine of $ 435,081.

A similar inspection was conducted at a Dollar General store in Seville, Ohio, on January 11, 2022, where OSHA inspectors discovered pipe locks inside an emergency exit with a double door, which requires special knowledge and extra time to open and perhaps prevent a safe and fast exit in an emergency. The agency cited the store for an intentional violation and proposed $ 145,027 in penalties.


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