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Walmart Reaches a Settlement With The U.S. Dept of Labor


If you have been affected by unsafe workplace conditions, you should contact a Missouri workers compensation lawyer. Unsafe Workplace Conditions

Walmart Stores, Inc. has come to a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor, an agreement that is intended to improve the health and safety conditions in the 2,857 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores that fall under federal jurisdiction. Beginning in 2011 there were two enforcement cases that have been resolved by the settlement. The agreement will necessitate that the Bentonville, Arkansas, amps up safety practices and provides additional training for employees who must work with trash compactors, cleaning chemicals, and corporate-wide communications regarding hazards.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, says that the settlement will help to keep Walmart workers safe and healthy and sends a message to employers. “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.”

The settlement dictates that while not in use, trash compactors must always be locked. Additionally, that they cannot be operated without supervision by a trained manager or another trained monitor, designated to supervise the operation. Hazard communication training was another issue addressed by the agreement. It also stipulates that undiluted cleaning chemicals are not to be handled by employees. In case of malfunction, equipment that dispenses cleaning chemicals must be included in a plan for safety protocol. And Walmart has agreed that employees are to be trained in the set of new procedures using vocabulary, language, and format that is comprehensible to them.

The settlement pays specific attention to the issue of trash compactors because the company has been cited on 6 different occasions for serious offenses relating to the machinery operations. There were also citations for serious deficiencies in protective equipment relating to the cleaning chemicals and serious hazard communication.

Two inspections of a Walmart Supercenter in Rochester, N.Y. precipitated the negotiations. On August 2, 2011, a safety inspection at the store took place and then a health inspection was initiated on August 17, 2011. Both inspections resulted in citations.

While many of these remedies are corporate-wide, there are also remedies that must be implemented which are specific to the hazards in the Rochester store. These hazards included repeat electrical hazards, obstructed exit routes, a platform fall, lack of proper machine guards, and eleven citations for serious bloodborne pathogens. For the citations relating to the Rochester store Walmart will need to pay civil penalties of $190,000.

At every store affected by the settlement there will need to be a copy of the agreement posted.

Contact a Missouri Workers Comp Lawyer

If you have been affected by unsafe workplace conditions, you should contact a Missouri workers compensation lawyer.

If you have been injured by unsafe work conditions that could have been preventable, you should make sure you and your attorney pursue full compensation. Your attorney will help you to obtain compensation for all medical expenses and lost wages. If a family member has died as the result of a workers compensation accident your family should receive workers comp survivor benefits. Discuss your options with the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann as soon as possible by calling (314) 361-4300.


photo credit: whyamiKeenan

Updated: August 27, 2013
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