A Connecticut owner of a retail store, regardless whether it is a multiple-store enterprise or a stand-alone business, must provide a safe workplace environment for employees. It is the responsibility of employers to address known hazards and establish a safety protocol that will protect workers from injuries and illnesses. During an inspection in May at Forever 21 Retail Inc. at the Westfarms Mall in Farmington, investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found conditions that threatened the welfare of the workers.
OSHA inspectors found stacks of boxes that were dangerously unstable. The piles were as high as 10 feet, creating struck-by hazards. Furthermore, these boxes were reportedly stacked in front of exit routes. An OSHA spokesperson noted that negligently stacked merchandise could also create trip and fall hazards.
Forever 21 reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to pay penalties of $100,000 and eliminate the identified safety hazards. This settlement might have resolved the issues in this store, but retail employees in other stores might be exposed to similar hazards. At this time of the year, increased stock volumes are typical, and effective safety protocols are vital.
Employees in retail stores in Connecticut who have suffered injuries and illnesses that were caused by unsafe workplace environments may have to face high medical costs. Injuries can also bring about a loss of income due to the inability to return to work for some time. Fortunately, claims for workers’ compensation benefits may be pursued. Some injured workers choose to utilize the services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help them navigate the administrative and legal proceedings to obtain fair compensation.
Source: ctpost.com, “Forever 21 fined $100,000 for hazard at CT mall“, Jim Shay, Dec. 18, 2015