Make Sure Your Workplace Emergency Exits Work

The Local 342 Safety Department wants to remind all Local 342 Members that every emergency exit in your workplace is critical to your ability to safely escape danger that can occur there – from fire and smoke, to carbon monoxide leaks, to any other danger you may need to avoid in a hurry. Emergency exits should open easily in an emergency, should allow you to exit safely and easily, and when opened, they should also sound an alarm and trigger emergency lights to help occupants of the store escape in dark or smoky conditions.

Last month, the Local 342 Safety Department instructed all Local 342 Shop Stewards in Stop & Shop to check all their stores’ emergency exits with their store manager. Safety Director John Feretti instructed them to not only fully open each door but to make sure people can actually exit safely through the doorway. The results of this first test helped to prove that even a fire exit door that appears perfectly normal, unblocked, and unlocked, can actually be stuck, rusted shut, broken, blocked from the outside or generally not working.

In all the Stop & Shop stores, almost all the emergency exit doors that were tested by Shop Stewards with their Store Managers and Loss Prevention opened and functioned properly. But there were some that didn’t open easily, and it only takes one failed emergency exit to tragically risk your safety at work, and that of your coworkers and customers.

Most of the doors that didn’t open easily had to be kicked or pushed open with force, like in Shop Steward Tony Fiore’s store # 2505 in Shirley, and at Carlos Flores’ store # 554 in Miller Place. Also, in the North Bellmore store #547, the Local 342 Safety Department checked a door that looked like it was in perfect condition, but was extremely difficult to force open. 

Other stores had some different issues with their emergency exits. When Shop Steward Dee Brancato tested her emergency exit doors at store # 2513 on Amboy Road, Staten Island, almost all of them opened onto a forest of shrubs and poison ivy. And in Oceanside store # 577, Shop Steward John Bertuglia had an emergency exit that was blocked by shrubbery.

Any issues that the Shop Stewards found with their stores’ emergency exits were called in to Stop Shop management, and the Local 342 Safety Department has ensured that have all been addressed and corrected.

The Local 342 Safety Department reminds all Local 342 Shop Stewards that emergency exits are an important part of your safety checklist and should be thoroughly examined on a regular basis. We will be asking Shop Stewards to perform this test on all emergency exits every quarter, year round.

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In the pictures, you can see a before and after of the emergency exit in Oceanside store # 577 where the shrubs were cleared away from the doorway for easy exit. 










In the video, Shop Steward Bob Amato says he’s glad he checked his emergency exits the week prior to a carbon monoxide emergency at his store # 2584 in Greenvale. All Local 342 Members and others were able to evacuate to safety.


Emergency Exit – Bob Amato – carbon monoxide leak from UFCW Local 342 on Vimeo.

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