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Supermarket employees ‘caged’ in locked building, OSHA alleges

September 28, 2011

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New York – All exit doors to a Brooklyn supermarket were locked at night while employees worked inside, which is a violation of workplace regulations, an OSHA inspection recently revealed.

Employees of Mermaid Meat Co., which was doing business as Fine Fare Supermarkets, were not allowed to leave the building without the employer’s permission, according to a Sept. 22 OSHA press release. OSHA issued citations and $62,300 in proposed penalties to the supermarket for the locked exits.

Kay Gee, the OSHA area director based in Manhattan, said the night shift supermarket workers were “essentially caged” and did not have a quick means to exit the building. “Employees must be able to exit the workplace swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency. When they cannot do so, they face serious injury or death from burns and smoke inhalation,” Gee said in the press release.

An OSHA fact sheet (.pdf file) on emergency exit routes is available online.

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