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Retailer fined $40,000 for lack of emergency action plan

The CVS pharmacy in Red Hook, N.Y., was hit with a $40,000 fine because it did not have an emergency action plan for workers to follow if a fire or other emergency were to occur at the store. Similar violations were found in other CVS pharmacies in the past three years.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed the fine April 8, 2013, after inspecting the store in response to a complaint.

The inspection found that the store lacked a site-specific emergency action plan. OSHA standards require emergency action plans in workplaces with more than 10 employees and where fire extinguishers are present.

“The fact that CVS has repeatedly failed to develop emergency action plans is disturbing,” said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA area director, in a media statement. “Hazards can vary from location to location, so it is imperative that each store has and maintains an effective emergency action plan specific to that store.”

OSHA issued CVS a repeat citation, which applies to an employer that has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the past five years.

OSHA had cited CVS in 2010 and 2011 for similar hazards at stores in Bridgeport, Conn., and Providence, R.I.

“Hazards such as this can be prevented if employers implement and maintain an effective illness- and injury-prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator, in a media statement.

OSHA provides an interactive eTool on its website to aid management in emergency plan implementation.

The Red Cross also offers a free preparedness program to businesses through Readyrating.org. Companies may access this resource to establish or refine their emergency action plan.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.

©2013 SHRM. All rights reserved. 

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