UPDATED: U.S. Department of Labor Fines Framingham Target For Blocked Emergency Exit Access

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Updated report with quote from Target at 7 p.m. on October 22.

FRAMINGHAM – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Target Corp. for emergency exit access hazards at stores in Danvers and Framingham.

The national retailer faces a total of $227,304 in penalties.

OSHA inspectors found fire exit routes in backroom storage areas blocked by objects, such as packing boxes, products, rolling carts, metal bars, portable ladders, and a powered industrial truck. Since 2015, OSHA has cited Target Corp. for similar hazards at 11 stores in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

“OSHA has cited Target Corp. several times for exposing workers to hazards that restrict their ability to quickly exit a store in an emergency,” said OSHA Andover Area Director Anthony Covello. “Employers are required to keep exit routes free and unobstructed.”

Additional information about OSHA requirements for keeping exits clear is available in the agency’s Emergency Exit Routes fact sheet. OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs includes information on how to identify and assess hazards in the workplace.

Target Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of the Danvers and Framingham citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

At Target, our team’s safety is our top priority. The fines the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced this week are from store visits in late 2018 and 2019. When they reached out, we were already working to address the underlying concerns, and since then, we’ve been performing third-party assessments, monitoring the backrooms of our stores regularly, increasing safety communication with our team and enhancing our inventory management processes. These measures are on top of mandatory safety training our store teams undergo every year and additional steps we take to ensure OSHA compliance. We’ll continue to invest in the technology, tools and processes that keep our stores safe and are glad we could work with OSHA to resolve this issue,” said a spokesperson for Target.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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