Forever 21 Stores Fined for OSHA Violations

by Harry Sheff

Forever 21Fast fashion chain Forever 21 has been hit by fines of $236,500 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety violations at two of its stores.

The Paramus, N.J. store was cited for four repeat violations totaling $132,000 in fines and the Times Square, Manhattan store for two repeat and one serious violation totaling $104,500 in fines. The stores were initially inspected in July after safety complaints.

Violations at the Paramus store include two blocked employee exits, precariously stacked boxes, uncovered fluorescent lights and fire extinguishers that weren’t accessible. The Times Square store’s repeat violations were for blocked exits and uncovered fluorescent lights. Another violation, categorized as “serious” by OSHA, was for the store’s unclean and disorderly condition.

Forever 21 has been cited for similar issues in New York and New Jersey stores in the last few years, which makes the current ones repeat violations. The retailer has 15 days to respond to the citations.

OSHA’s regional administrator in New York, Robert Kulick, called the repeats “unacceptable,” adding that that they put workers at serious risk. “Retail managers have a legal responsibility to inspect their stores, identify potential hazards and quickly eliminate them to ensure worker safety and health,” he said in a statement.

OSHA cited Forever 21 for repeat violations last year for similar issues at its Burlington, Mass. store, and at its Bridgewater, N.J. store in 2012.

Forever 21, founded by Do Won Chang in 1984 as Fashion 21 with one store in Los Angeles, now operates about 450 stores in the U.S. The discount chain mostly caters to young women, but does a small young men’s business as well.