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Starbucks adding needle-disposal boxes in select stores nationwide

KEZI obtained documents from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration that show two employees were stuck by needles on the store on W. Broadway last year.

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 6:07 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 6:12 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Starbucks employees in Eugene and nationwide are reporting finding dirty needles and syringes in their bathrooms, and now the coffee giant is looking to make a change.

Select stores in the U.S. will be adding needle-disposal boxes in Starbucks bathrooms.

KEZI 9 News talked to a Starbucks spokesperson who provided this statement:

"We are always working and listening to our partners (employees) on ways we can better support them when it comes to issues like these. These societal issues affect us all and can sometimes place our partners in scary situations, which is why we have protocols and resources in place to ensure our partners are out of harm’s way. If our partners are ever in a position where they don’t feel comfortable completing a task, they are empowered to remove themselves from the situation and alert their manager."

KEZI obtained documents from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that show two employees were stuck by needles on the store on W. Broadway last year. The document also shows at that same location, employees had to clean up blood off the bathroom floor and other spots in the store.

OSHA ordered Starbucks to pay over $3,000 after the investigation because they did not provide containers for used needles.

"I have quite a few feelings about it," Eugene resident Rene Ragan said. "I don't want them on the streets. I'd rather have a safer place for them to reside. That's probably in my mind a more municipal matter that should be dealt in a municipal fashion than a corporation stepping up to do that."

KEZI reporter Madison Glassman went into the store on E. 13th Avenue and Alder Street near the University of Oregon, and there was a disposal box in the bathroom.

"It looked kind of like a scene out of a horror movie," said Viekson Van Wie, a former Eugene Starbucks employee. "It's a good thing they're being added because this is a problem, but to me this shows that there's another problem and this is one of the by-products of that drug problem."

The coffee giant's spokesperson declined to comment how many or which stores in the U.S. are participating. They also would not say which stores in Eugene are participating. They said the boxes are only installed if the store's district manager requests one.

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