Employees need clear access to exits if they hope to make it out of the building safely during an emergency. In one home decor company's New York showroom, however, this isn't possible. Stacks of merchandise block emergency exits and aisles, forcing employees to fight through piles of disco balls, desks and lamps in the event of an evacuation.
The company, U.S. and international home decor manufacturer and distributor Idea Nuova, now faces more than $84,000 in fines for one willful, two repeated and two serious violations after failing their second Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection in as many years.
In addition to allowing conditions that could prevent a swift exit in an emergency, management appeared to ignore OSHA inspectors' caution that keeping stairwell exit doors open would accelerate the spread of flames and smoke during a fire. On three floors, the inspectors found these doors repeatedly propped open despite their warnings.
In November 2013, OSHA cited the company for similar hazards at both this location as well as at another Idea Nuova showroom in Brooklyn.
This summer's inspection also uncovered hazards on two other floors of the facility. Employees risked blows from haphazardly stacked merchandise on one floor, while those on another faced electric shock hazards due to an exposed electrical outlet.
"Burns, smoke inhalation, electric shock and falling merchandise aren't chic," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director in Manhattan. "Blocked and impeded exits can cost employees their lives. Idea Nuova must not wait for a tragedy before addressing these issues."
Idea Nuova has offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia, where they create, produce and market products for many of the biggest brands in the world, including The Walt Disney Co., Nickelodeon and Major League Baseball.
Safety Advantage's safety management services can help make sure your workplace's emergency procedures are compliant with OSHA regulations. For professional safety classes and other comprehensive compliance solutions, contact us today.