Workplace

Government fines Wal-Mart over lax worker safety

Updated: 2013-08-08T04:46:34Z

By DIANE STAFFORD

The Kansas City Star

Wal-Mart has agreed to improve safety conditions for employees who use trash compactors and cleaning chemicals at 2,857 stores nationwide.

The agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, announced Wednesday, was reached after an investigation at a Rochester, N.Y., store.

The company also will pay a $190,000 fine. A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company addressed the problems as soon as it was made aware of them.

Under the federal settlement, Wal-Mart has agreed to improve worker training programs for operating hazardous equipment and use of cleaning chemicals. The Labor Department said similar safety agreements could be negotiated in 22 states that operate their own OSHA inspection programs.

OUR Walmart, an advocacy group for Wal-Mart employees, applauded the agreement. The group said inadequate “training on handling of hazardous chemicals and dangerous conditions related to poorly maintained equipment” had existed.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace, on Facebook and Twitter.

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