Retail giant Walmart reached an agreement with the Labor Department to make improvements at nearly 4,700 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection at a Rochester, N.Y., store in 2011 found numerous safety violations, USA Today reports. The company also will pay $190,000 in fines. Similar violations were found between 2008 and 2010 at stores in nine states.
Inspectors found a poorly secured trash compactor, an unguarded grinder, hazardous chemicals, exit routes that were blocked, and a lack of information and training in the use of the compactor. Walmart now will require compactors to be locked when they are not in use and will require operation to be supervised by a trained manager. Workers no longer will be required to handle undiluted cleaning chemicals, and training programs will be improved. All stores will post the agreement for employees to see.
Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo, said:
“The sizable fines proposed here reflect not only the seriousness of these conditions but the fact that several of them are substantially similar to hazards identified at nine other Walmart locations in New York and eight other states.”