United States of America

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH REVIEW COMMISSION

1120 20th Street, N.W., Ninth Floor

Washington, DC 20036-3457

                                                                                           

 

SECRETARY OF LABOR,

       

Complainant,

 

v.

  OSHRC DOCKET NO. 19-0868

CHEWY, INC.,

   

                          Respondent.

 

 

Appearances:        Elena S. Goldstein, Deputy Solicitor of Labor

                Tremelle I. Howard, Regional Solicitor

                Karen E. Mock, Counsel

                Lydia J. Chastain, Senior Trial Attorney

                U.S. Department of Labor, Atlanta, Georgia

                        For the Complainant

               

                Darren S. Harrington, Esq.

                F. Colin Durham, Jr., Esq.

                Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC, Dallas, Texas

                        For the Respondent

 

Before:                Carol A. Baumerich, Administrative Law Judge

 

DECISION AND ORDER

        Chewy, Inc., an online pet supply company, operates many warehouses.  This case concerns Chewy’s warehouse in Ocala, Florida, where one of Chewy’s workers was pinned, crushed, and killed when the forklift he was operating passed beneath a horizontal beam of a storage rack in the Ocala warehouse.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the incident at the Ocala warehouse and issued to Chewy a Citation and Notification of Penalty (Citation) on May 9, 2019.  The Citation alleged two violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 U.S.C. §§ 651-678 (the Act), one of which is adjudicated within this Decision.1  This Citation Item alleges a serious violation of section 5(a)(1) of the Act.  Commonly known as the “general duty clause,” section 5(a)(1) requires that each employer “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”  29 U.S.C. § 654(a)(1).  
For this Citation Item, the Secretary alleges that the conditions at Chewy’s Ocala warehouse presented an “under-ride” hazard to Chewy’s workers and proposes a $13,260 penalty.  (First Am. Compl. 3.)2  Below is a picture that truly and accurately depicts the condition inside Chewy’s Ocala warehouse shortly after the incident that initiated the OSHA inspection in this case.  The photo shows the lift truck frame, where the operator had been standing, under the rack system horizontal beam, and a pallet of boxes on the lift forks.  (Tr. 51-52; Ex. C-12.)