August 7, 2013
Washington, DC– Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it has reached a settlement with Walmart on a large number of repeated and serious worker safety violations including a lack of proper training on handling of hazardous chemicals and dangerous conditions related to poorly maintained equipment. In response, OUR Walmart members issued the following statement:
“The national settlement reached today between OSHA and Walmart resolves the highest penalties any individual Walmart store has ever faced as a result of health and safety violations – over $350,000. The problems detailed in the settlement are issues we have been raising for years, but it’s clear that the company has consistently failed to listen to our concerns, let alone address them.
“This is just the latest indication of Walmart’s malfeasance throughout the supply chain, and these serious problems represent a major danger to workers, the environment, and the company’s future. As workers we routinely face inadequate fire safety measures, including blocked fire exits, and do not receive proper training on how to safely handle hazardous chemicals. Poorly maintained equipment, including balers and compactors, represent another hazard, made worse because these machines often lack appropriate mechanisms to ensure worker safety.
“We like our jobs and want what’s best for the company. We hope that today’s settlement sends a message to Walmart that cutting corners on safety comes at great costs, not just to employees, but also to the company. Moreover, Walmart needs to go beyond the settlement, start listening to its workers, and investigate its stores throughout the country to see if these violations are widespread and where they find violations, fix them. These issues are about the very basic right employees have to work in safe environments.”
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.
STATEMENT FROM STACY MITCHELL ON OSHA SETTLEMENT WITH WALMART
In response to today’s settlement, Institute for Local Self Reliance senior researcher Stacy Mitchell issued the following statement:
“Walmart’s negligence in managing hazardous chemicals is yet another illustration of its disregard for the environment and the health of workers and communities. While Walmart publicizes its solar installations, behind the scenes, the company is continuing to cut corners and harm the environment throughout its operations and supply chain.”