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OSHA Launches Retail-Sector Emphasis Program in Pacific

By Roy Maurer  4/17/2014
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced April 14, 2014, the launch of a local emphasis program in the U.S. Pacific region’s retail industry to reduce workplace deaths and injuries.

The program will feature random, targeted inspections of clothing stores, department stores, general merchandise stores and other retailers in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals and fatalities related to retail operations as well.

The retail industry overall experienced 262 fatal occupational injuries in 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The injury and illness case rate for retail workers, including in the Pacific territories, was four per 100 full-time workers, compared with a 3.4 rate for all other private-sector employees during the same period.

OSHA inspections at retail stores in the Pacific routinely uncover numerous safety or health hazards that result in serious violations, said Mike Rivera, acting area director of OSHA’s Honolulu Area Office. Cited safety and health violations generally relate to electrical hazards, unsafe merchandise handling, transportation hazards, fire hazards, exposure to harmful substances, improper maintenance of exit routes, and hazards that can lead to falls, slips and trips, struck-by objects or amputations, he said.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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