US Labor Department's OSHA cites Wal-Mart store in Great Falls, Mont., for
repeat and serious safety and health hazards; proposes $50,000 in fines
BILLINGS, Mont. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for two repeat violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Great Falls store. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer faces a total of $50,000 in proposed fines following a January inspection by OSHA's Billings Area Office that was initiated as part of the agency's Site Specific Targeting Program.
Wal-Mart workers were exposed to amputation hazards while pushing and pulling bread loaves through the blades of a bread slicer. This repeat violation carries a $25,000 proposed fine. A similar violation was cited in January 2009 at the same store.
"The best way to control and prevent amputations caused by stationary machinery is machine safeguarding," said Jeff Funke, the agency's area director in Billings. "This employer had been previously cited for this specific piece of equipment and failed to ensure that corrective actions were taken and maintained."
In addition, Wal-Mart failed to make suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body in the event of an emergency due to potential electrolyte exposure near a battery charging station for electrical pallet jacks. The same violation was cited three times in stores in Arlington, Texas, in 2010, and in Norristown and King of Prussia, Pa., in 2009. OSHA has proposed a $25,000 fine because of the recurrent nature of this violation. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Wal-Mart has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Billings office at 406-247-7494.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.