A supermarket is facing OSHA fines after an inspection found night shift employees were locked in and not allowed to leave the building without the employer’s permission.
Mermaid Meat Co., doing business as Fine Fare Supermarkets, had all five of its exit doors of its Brooklyn, NY, store locked at night. Employees couldn’t unlock the door without a manager’s permission.
“One hundred years ago in New York City, 146 workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire,” said David Michaels, the head of OSHA. “Many of them died because they were locked in and unable to escape swiftly. A century later, we still find employers locking in their employees.”
OSHA standards require employees be able to open an exit door from the inside at all times, without keys, tools or special knowledge. A device such as a panic bar that locks only from the outside is permitted on exit doors.
Mermaid faces a total of $62,300 in fines: one willful violation of $49,000 for the locked exits, and four serious violations totaling $13,300 for obstructed exit routes as well as electrical and tripping hazards.
The supermarket has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest the fines.