Clean up in Coney Island! A Mermaid Avenue supermarket is in hot water with the feds this week for "essentially caging" its employees in the store overnight, which could lead to disaster in case of an emergency.
The owners of Fine Fare Supermarket allegedly kept their overnight stock clerks locked in by keeping rolldown gates over all give exit doors, which were kept shut with padlocks and multiple sliding bolts. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules require that employees be able to open an exit from inside at all times, without a key. The owners of Fine Fare are being charged with $62,300 in fines for the locked exits and obstructing the exit routes. The exit routes in question were probably quite useful in 2008, when an SUV crashed through the window of the supermarket and smashed into an elderly woman at the checkout counter.
A OSHA spokesman chided the store's owners, saying that the violations evoked "conditions from 1911," the year of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which 146 garment workers died because they were locked in the building. "These are imminent danger situations, potential catastrophes in the making," the rep said. A lawyer for the store said the OSHA is mistaken and there were open exits, though the store's manager was unavailable for comment when we called.