After OSHA Violations Discovered, Walmart Agrees to Pay $190,000 Federal Fine
After “repeat and serious” OSHA violations were discovered at a Walmart store in Rochester, NY in 2011, Walmart has finally agreed to pay to upgrade 2,800 stores across 28 states, and pay a fine of $190,000.
The fine was part of an agreement with the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after the department uncovered “unacceptable” safety hazards to employees at the Rochester store, which turned out to be similar to other violations in other Walmart stores across the United States.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the world, but the company has been cited for over 100 OSHA violations in the last 5 years. Because of the company’s appalling safety record, Walmart has faced labor strikes, work stoppages, and increased scrutiny.
In 2011, OSHA cited the Rochester Walmart for hazards that included lack of training for employees using hazardous cleaning chemicals, unsafe trash compactors, and blocked exits. The violations turned out to be similar to other listed OSHA violations at other Walmart stores between 2008 and 2010.
The fine was lowered from $365,500, because Walmart promised to improve unsafe conditions. In the federal agreement, Walmart stated that it would hire an outside monitor to check settlement compliance over the next 4 months to 2 years. The company also pledged to improve employee training regarding cleaning products and hazardous chemicals, that trash compactors would remain locked when not in use, and compactors would not be used without supervision of a trained manager or monitor.
Dr David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said: “This settlement will help to keep thousands of exposed Walmart workers safe and healthy on the job. We hope this sends a strong message that the law requires employers to provide safe working conditions, and OSHA will use all the tools at our disposal to ensure that all employers follow the law.”
Randy Hargrove, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the company had long had policies to ensure employees’ safety. “When we learned of the concerns raised by OSHA at our Rochester store in 2011, we immediately addressed them and reinforced the company’s guidelines,” he said.
The federal settlement covers 2,857 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in 28 states. Another 22 states, which run their own local OSHA programs, have the option of requesting the same provisions from the company.
The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes OSHA Violations on Behalf of South Carolina’s Workers
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