The settlement agreement is designed to "improve safety and health conditions in all 2,857 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores under federal jurisdiction," according to OSHA. It "includes provisions for the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer to enhance safety and health practices and training related to trash compactors, cleaning chemicals and hazard communications corporate-wide."
Citations had been issued following two separate inspections at the Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Rochester, N.Y.The company has also agreed to "abate other hazards in the Rochester store unrelated to the corporate-wide remedy, and will pay $190,000 in civil penalties," OSHA said.
The agreement calls for trash compactors at the stores to remain locked while not in use and operated only under the supervision of a trained manager or designated monitor. The company must also improve training on hazard communications and enhance its procedures for cleaning chemicals to make sure employees do not handle undiluted chemicals. Protective protocol must be in place as well.
"This settlement will help to keep thousands of exposed Wal-Mart workers safe and healthy on the job," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "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."
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 23, 2013
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