Wal-Mart Fined for Worker Safety Violations

Every year, Wal-mart seems to face a number of legal problems, including employment class actions and issues involving worker rights. Consumer and employee watchdog groups have routinely found violations that can put worker rights and safety at risk. In the newest instance of exposure, Wal-Mart has entered a settlement to improve safety for workers. The company was scrutinized after being fined by the government for workplace violations involving work trash compactors and hazardous cleaning chemicals.

Under the agreement, Wal-Mart has agreed to improve work safety conditions for employees at more than 2,800 stores nationwide.

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Employers are required to follow federal regulations to ensure worker safety. They must also take a reasonable and informed approach to ensuring that processes and procedures protect workers, especially when involving dangerous chemicals or machinery. Our Spartanburg workers’ compensation attorneys are experienced with complex claims involving worker injury. We will take an aggressive and proactive approach to help victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve.

Recently, issues surfaced concerning safety for employees who use trash compactors and cleaning chemicals and stores nationwide. An advocacy group for Wal-Mart employees has lauded the agreement and indicated that the handling of hazardous materials led to dangerous conditions and poorly maintained equipment for workers. Evidently, this was a widespread problem that affected employees nationwide.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is charged with ensuring that companies follow federal regulations and safety guidelines. After an inspection at a store in New York, OSHA found a significant number of violations that left the company liable for fines. If you or someone you love was involved in a workplace accident, an experienced advocate and independent investigation can help you to protect your rights and recover the compensation you need and deserve.

According to an announcement earlier this month, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in 28 states have agreed to improve worker training and safety programs when handling equipment and cleaning chemicals. In addition to improving safety conditions, the retail store has also agreed to pay a $190,000 fine to address the safety issues. A spokesperson for Wal-Mart has asserted that immediate action was taken to address the problems.

In the event of a workplace accident involving dangerous chemicals, heavy machinery or hazardous materials, OSHA may be called in to investigate or determine the cause of the accident or injury. Remember that workers’ compensation claimants need not prove that the accident was their fault or that negligence caused the accident. A worker need only prove that the accident occurred while in the course of performing “work-related duties.”

In this case, safety issues were identified before a serious accident or injury occurred. Unfortunately, many OSHA inspections and the findings of violations occur after it is too late. A workplace left unexamined could expose a worker to burns, fires, explosions and other serious accidents or injury. For victims of workplace injury, after the fact safety violation findings may seem inconsequential, even if a company agrees to make necessary improvements. By intervening early, OSHA may have been able to prevent a serious accident or injury to a Wal-Mart employee.

If you have been denied workers’ compensation or need an advocate to help you file a claim, contact the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

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Independent Contractor Workers’ Comp and Third-Party Claims, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 20, 2013

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