An Ohio Dollar Tree was fined over $150,000 for blocking exits and fire extinguishers last fall. Since 2010, the stores have amassed a whopping $1 million in proposed fines from the OSHA and the Department of Labor, most related to inventory blocking the rear store exits and emergency equipment.
OSHA is tough on these kinds of violations because history shows employees can lose their lives because they don’t have proper access to an exit in the case of a fire or other emergency. The need for worker safety reforms were first addressed in 1911 when a fire broke out at a New York City garment factory. Several hundred workers, mostly young women, were nearing the end of their shift when a fire erupted and spread quickly throughout the building. Most of the doors had been locked by the factory owners, probably to prevent theft and keep workers from taking breaks. In the end, 146 workers died, and this workplace fatality event became known as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.
The public outrage from this tragedy served as the basis for many of the worker safety reforms that we take for granted today – like the regulations Dollar Tree keeps getting fined for.
“In an emergency, no one should have to struggle to get out of a store safely, grab a fire extinguisher or shut down the power quickly, but these dangerous hazards are exactly what our inspectors found at the Dollar General store in Bolivar,” said Larry Johnson, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “Finding these conditions in one company location is bad enough, but Dollar General’s willingness to ignore its immediate responsibility to protect employees and shoppers in all of its stores is cause for real concern.”
How to get your store organized
For retail stores, blocking exits, aisleways and emergency equipment is a safety hazard and can rack up hefty fines. Johnson advises the number one way to avoid these fines is to educate and train employees to know that keeping inventory in aisles, exit areas and blocking safety equipment is not safe and it is part of their job to help keep these areas clear of obstacles. That means employers must provide safe areas to move the inventory to, sufficient manpower to keep the area clear and a workflow that matches up with deliveries.
One solution for helping employees keep inventory stored in a safe manner and avoid OHSA fines, is to help them visualize where to put inventory — and where NOT to put inventory. Stop-Painting floor tape can offer a quick, efficient and easily adaptable resource for employers to use to keep the back of the retail space clear of obstacles, compliant and organized.
Our floor tape is much quicker to apply than paint and Stop-Painting offers pre-cut kits to place in front of exit doors to mark egress requirements; to mark off area to keep clear in front of fire safety equipment; and to mark area to keep clear in front of electrical panel boxes. (Other pre-cut kits include visual cues for eye wash stations, first aid kits and AED supplies.)
Order a pre-cut kit
Kits are simple to install. The pre-cut strips are pre-measured for you in 36”, 42”, or 46” sizes, or we can customize a kit to fit your needs. Some stores also mark off larger areas that are prone to being blocked with floor marking tape with a clear recurring message of “DO NOT BLOCK,” as well as wall and floor signs reminding employees not to block areas.
Our flagship floor marking tape, Superior Mark™ Floor Tape, is produced in our facility in Wake Forest, NC and is the most durable and highest quality floor tape you’ll find. Superior Mark™ floor tape has a patented design with beveled edges and a recessed, highway grade adhesive for durability and top performance that sets the standard in industrial strength marking tape. Nothing beats Superior Mark™ for fast installation, easy maintenance and maximum strength for a tape that holds up under the heaviest industrial traffic.
Make sure the back of your retail store is compliant and offers a safe and organized work environment to employees. Call us today, or order here.
InSite Solutions, LLC (DBA Stop-Painting.com) is a leading manufacturer of indoor and outdoor marking tapes and signs. These products are alternatives to painting concrete floors and pavement. Headquartered in Wake Forest, N.C., InSite Solutions, LLC offers thousands of traffic control and industrial safety supplies on its ecommerce website, http://stop-painting.com.