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April 22, 2013
OSHA is serious when it comes to emergency planning

OSHA says CVS has not gotten the message about its duty under the law to provide emergency action plans. The retailer was cited and fined $40,000 following an inspection at a New Jersey location. A complaint brought OSHA inspectors, who issued a repeat violation. The chain had been previously cited for a similar hazard at CVS drug stores in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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OSHA called the fact that CVS has not remedied the problem “disturbing.” The agency emphasized the importance of a site-specific plan because hazards can vary from location to location. OSHA standards require emergency action plans for workplaces with more than 10 employees and where fire extinguishers are present.

The plan should include:

  • A means of reporting emergencies,
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments,
  • Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before evacuating,
  • Procedures to account for all employees,
  • Rescue and medical duties, and
  • Names or job titles of individuals to be contacted for information.

The agency has developed an eTool for evacuation plans and procedures to help businesses comply. It’s on the OSHA website, http://www.OSHA.gov. Search for “evacuation eTool.”

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