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Various safety hazards, etc etc.

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  • Various safety hazards, etc etc.


    I work at a little hardware store that's a family business. They pretty much act like they're excempt from all laws and regulations and do pretty much whatever they want as long as it costs them little to nothing and they make money off of it.

    I'll start off with the safety hazards that apply to employees and customers.

    -Boxes of merchandise are stacked unsafely and too high.

    -Much of the merchandise that is too big for the shelves or too big to be displayed on the floor are basically balanced on the top of the store shelves. A small nudge on the item from someone taking a box off the shelf next to it would cause it to topple. For example, two saw horses are leaning up against boxes, if you were to move the moxes they would fall to the other side, either on the floor or on someones head.

    -Large boxes of different products that can't be displayed the length of the top shelf are stacked as high as possible. For example large garden fountains that are about 28"hx12"w are stacked two high instead of side by side because there is no room.

    -Many heavy boxes that are extra stock are placed on top of shelves on the walls of the building that are about 10ft high and stacked to about 15ft. The largest ladder we have is a 10ft and the maximum reach is maybe 13ft.

    -At the stores front there are garage bays, in one bay on the side wall is a make shift shelf/attic area where large items such as deck chairs and umbrellas are kept, various other seasonal products are stack out of reach on the largest ladder and poorly stacked due to weird boxes and product sizes and shapes.

    -In one bay we keep our grills, there are big gas grills stacked upwards of 8ft or 4 boxes high, each box weighs over 200lbs and is located in tight quaters many times I have to take them down by myself for assembly. We also have charcoal grills stacked straight up to 12ft high which created dangerous situations when working to get a box down.

    -Our parking lot doubles are a storage area, large flower carts are stacked ontop of pallets of mulch and various landscaping products which create employee and customer safety hazards. Easily toppled if pushed or nudged wrong.

    -Two long trailers are located behind the store with various stuff stored on top of them. Most of the objects are long and heavy such as poles, extension ladders and pipes.

    -In the front of the strore is an attic with two floors, the only way to get the attic is by ladder, very dangerous, I have almost fell off the ladder climbing off and onto the ledge to the attic. No light is installed in either attic, no windows either. Makes trips and falls all too common.

    -The climbing equipment for employee use is old, broken and poorly fixed(shouldn't be fixed at all, should be replaced). One ten foot ladder 'walks' if you wobble and has previously broken and was fixed by bolts at the hinging parts. One ladder is a wobbly wooden 2 step ladder that can barely support 100lbs. One employee has fallen off of a ladder because the non climbing section buckled and collapsed causing him to fall 3-4ft.

    -We have a glass cutting machine, the area is dirty with shards of broken glass all around, a trash can for large peices always has large deadly peices sticking out, coupled with little walking room can cause death if you trip and fall on it the right way.

    I've been meaning to fill out an OSHA violation form thing but never get around to printing it and filling it out. I really should, my health and safety have been put in jepeordy one too many times. My helth is already sub par because of extreme lifting and various cuts and scratches.

    One other thing that is getting me, last weeks time in sheets, I miscalculated my hours and cut myself short 2 hours. I told him once and so far he just pushed it off. I found out he throws out the time sheets after two weeks.
    What do I do if I don't get compensated for my hours?

  • #2
    If you don't get paid for all hours you work, you file a claim for unpaid wages with the state Dept. of Labor. As a retailer, they are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act if they conduct any business outside the state, even such things as ordering inventory from an out-of-state vendor.

    The FLSA requires time records for nonexempt employees be retained for three years, so that alone is a violation which you should mention when you file your claim.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      Cuts, scratches and heavy lifting are not the kinds of safety hazards that OSHA is concerned with. Neither are they concerned with the haphazrd placement of items on shelves or boxes being stacked. This is particularly true in storage areas where the only way to store the items is to stack them. There may be firecode violations if walkways and such are blocked but that depends on your juristdiction. Why not clean up the glass cutting area if you see that it needs it? Take out the trash if it is overflowing and sharp pieces of glass are in there. Shift items on the shelves if you see they are about to fall. OSHA also isn't concerned with general housekeeping or cleanliness. Have you asked about reorganizing the areas you are concerned about so that heavy items are stored down lower than lighter items?

      If you are a hardware store, you certainly should be able to repair or replace or simply not use ladders that are in disrepair.

      If you cut or scrape or injure yourself such that medical treatment beyond first aid is required, you can file a claim with WC.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


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