An attempted armed robbery at a New Jersey convenience store led to a fatal shooting – and a $14,000 fine for the convenience store under OSHA’s General Duty Clause.
On Oct. 28, 2015, two armed men wearing masks stormed a convenience store attached to a Getty gas station in Irvington, NJ. The store clerk, Ashiwin Patel, was shot. Patel, 57, later died from his injuries.
OSHA investigated the fatal robbery and determined Jay Management, that operates the convenience store, could’ve done more to prevent the workplace violence incident.
Jay Management was hit with one willful violation and a $14,000 fine under the General Duty Clause for failure to:
- develop a comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Program
- install panic buttons which alert local authorities
- install physical barriers such as a bullet-resistant enclosure that separates clerks from customers
- redesign the store to allow for better visibility so customers and the cash register can be seen from the street
- hang warning signs identifying deterrent measures, such as “the safe is in a time lock,” “the premises is under video surveillance” and “there is a limited amount of accessible cash on hand”
- prohibit employees from working alone, and
- conduct training for all employees so they’re aware of security hazards and means to protect themselves.
Kris Hoffman, OSHA’s area director in Parsippany, said the convenience store had a troubling history of workplace violence. In a press release, Hoffman said:
“In the past five years, 20 workplace violence incidents involving theft, armed robbery and fights occurred at this store. Jay Management was well aware of this history and, even after the death of the employee in October, the employer did nothing to implement safety measures to protect employees. This disregard for employee safety is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Jay Management has 15 businesses days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.