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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in retail setting.

No matter how low hazard your business - or your commonsense efforts to protect employees from serious injuries, you may be unaware of routine, seemingly "picky" OSHA violations. And they can cost you tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Consider the experience of chain retailers and the millions in OSHA penalties issued. Let's talk specifically about restaurants - really god ones.

Yesterday was one of those occasions when I wish that my predictions had been inaccurate. I have speculated that the SEIU and other unions harassing fast food restaurants would eventually add mass OSHA complaints to their joint employer, discrimination, living wage, and other attacks. Yesterday, you probably saw the articles about “Fight for $5’s” coordinated effort to file OSHA Complaints in 19 cities.

Location and price generally control office-space decisions. Even if you construct a new building or do extensive build-out, you probably have not devoted much consideration to whether your new space meets OSHA requirements.

I question whether the union’s strategy of publicly embarrassing restaurants in front of customers will bring in members, but it is clear that unions are going to increase their public attacks. So I was not surprised to read the following headline on CNN Money Today, “Fast Food Workers Strikes Planned In 150 Cities.” You may recall that beginning in 2012, union driven protests demanding a “living wage” occurred in approximately 100 cities ...

Most retail employers, even large companies with hundreds of branches, do not much worry about being inspected by OSHA; let alone cited. It’s not that these employers are disinterested in their employees’ safety, it’s just that they have rarely experienced and OSHA visit, and with the exception of ergonomic issues at grocery stores, retail stores don’t show up on many of OSHA’s various target lists. While understandable, this is an increasingly dangerous attitude. Let’s review a few facts which show that retailers are more at risk for big dollar OSHA penalties than more seemingly “dangerous” industries such as construction. Why?

I am writing this post as I sit on a bench in front of a Homewood Suites. As I sat working on documents, I struck up a conversation with an employee who was emptying the trash and straightening up outside. I’ll call him “Nate.” One could and should use Nate’s example to train professionals, including members of my benighted species, lawyers. His customer service attitude translates to professionalism and engagement in countless areas of "legal" responsibilities.

OSHA regularly cites retail employers for violations relating to their compactors and balers, many of which are old and ill-maintained. I wish that we could say that deaths involving store contractors are rare, but that would not be true. Please see the recent story below:

REDWOOD City, Calif. -- An employee at a Redwood City Grocery Outlet was killed Thursday night in an accident involving a machine used to compact cardboard for recycling, officials ...

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