PDA

View Full Version : WalMart Challenging $7000 OSHA fine in Black Friday Death



Jamianne
07-08-2010, 10:35 AM
source article here (http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2010-07-07-wal-mart-black-friday-death_N.htm)

Wal-Mart fights $7,000 fine in Black Friday death

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) Wal-Mart Stores is challenging a proposed $7,000 federal fine resulting from the stampede death of a temporary employee during a post-Thanksgiving sales blitz at a Long Island store, contending it could be subject to harsh restrictions on sales promotions.
Greg Rossiter, a spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark., retailer, said Wednesday Wal-Mart remains committed to avoiding future tragedies, but also argues the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's proposed fine is a retroactive penalty.

"OSHA wants to hold Wal-Mart accountable for standards that were neither proposed nor issued at the time of the incident," Rossiter said.

OSHA cited Wal-Mart (WMT) in May 2009 for inadequate crowd management following the Nov. 28, 2008, death of Jdimytai Damour at its Walmart store in Valley Stream. A hearing on the dispute began Wednesday in New York and was expected to take several days or weeks to complete; a decision was not expected until sometime in early 2011.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Damour had been on the job for about a week when a crowd estimated at 2,000 strong broke down the store's doors in search of pre-dawn bargains, trapping him in a vestibule. The 34-year-old Queens man died of asphyxiation. Eleven other people, including a pregnant woman, were injured.

OSHA said it issues citations when "death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known."

Wal-Mart argues that if it concedes OSHA's point this time, it could be subjected to harsher sanctions in the future if some other crowd-control tragedy should occur.

While Wal-Mart is disputing the OSHA action, it did agree last year to a nearly $2 million settlement with Nassau County prosecutors to avoid a criminal prosecution.

Chris Munzing, a spokesman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice, said Wednesday the prosecutor's office is in process of reviewing the company's compliance with agreement. He said the results of that review are expected within weeks.

Rice contended that had the company been found guilty of a crime, it would have been subject to a maximum fine of $10,000.

Instead, she said, the company agreed to improve crowd management at post-Thanksgiving Day sales, set up a $400,000 fund for victims and give $1.5 million to county social services programs and nonprofit groups.

In 2009, many Walmart stores stayed open for 24 hours on Thanksgiving, avoiding the need for a morning-after rush on its stores for bargains. There were no incidents reported at the Valley Stream location where Damour died.

The settlement with prosecutors also required Wal-Mart to consult with experts to develop safety plans for each of its stores.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

littlekitty381
07-09-2010, 04:28 AM
Wow that is sad. I go to walmart for the Black Friday sales. One yr I had my feet ran over by a cart . Plus I was pushed by a big guy.. But I go back . Now I go to our super Wal mart that is open 24 hr. I wait in the lines for my items....


:rip: I hope they win.

KissMeKate
07-12-2010, 02:34 PM
Wal-Mart argues that if it concedes OSHA's point this time, it could be subjected to harsher sanctions in the future if some other crowd-control tragedy should occur.


Yes and no. If they had adequate crowd-control in place, then no, but if they decide not to have those procedures set, then yes.

Although I do appreciate they gave money to the community, I'm saddened that a death due to health and safety issues is only worth up to $10K. That's very little for a life.

I, personally, can't stand crowds. I don't go to many of the big events in Chicago because I can't stand feeling crushed by other people. When I was in high school, I went to a concert at Six Flags with some friends. About 10 minutes before the gates were supposed to open, the crowd started pushing. I ended up trapped against a chain-link fence with nowhere to go and no way to push back against thousands of crazed teenagers. I'll never get myself in a situation like that again.

Jamianne
07-12-2010, 02:49 PM
Although I do appreciate they gave money to the community, I'm saddened that a death due to health and safety issues is only worth up to $10K. That's very little for a life.


I so agree with you on this. $7K is nothing to a company as large as Wal-Mart. OSHA's fines are a little strange - I still don't quite understand them, even though Dave's tried explaining it since he started there. Though there's apparently some sort of push going on right now to have their fines raised. Hopefully, it'll come through. Along with some reform to the regulations that allow companies to slip out of them and keep on endangering their workers.

Bree-Auna
07-13-2010, 09:19 AM
And are they planning on fining the actual people who broke down the doors and crushed this guy???? I've worked two "Black Friday"'s at Wal-Mart and even in the relatively small area where I live, people can be extremely rude and inconsiderate. I've seen people shoving others, ripping the wrapping open before the time the sale was to start, throwing it on the floor (making for slip and trip hazards), running into other people,people reaching over and around me to get to the merchandise while I was still cutting packaging open (almost accidentally cut a few). For some reason, they lose all common sense. My personal solution, now that I don't work at WM anymore, don't go to the early sales. There is absolutely nothing I or anyone I know, needs so badly that I have to put up with that kind of behaviour. I don't miss those days at all.

Jamianne
07-13-2010, 09:29 AM
And are they planning on fining the actual people who broke down the doors and crushed this guy????

That would be a civil case - OSHA can't do anything to them. OSHA only concerns itself with the employers and their employees.

LdyJhawk
07-13-2010, 12:22 PM
I so agree with you on this. $7K is nothing to a company as large as Wal-Mart. OSHA's fines are a little strange - I still don't quite understand them, even though Dave's tried explaining it since he started there. Though there's apparently some sort of push going on right now to have their fines raised. Hopefully, it'll come through. Along with some reform to the regulations that allow companies to slip out of them and keep on endangering their workers.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm siding with Walmart on this. It isnt a matter of 7000 dollars being too much or too little, it's the fact that it will set a precedent. They want to find Walmart's safety levels in 2008 as lacking by standards that were put in place after the event. If Walmart were to allow that uncontested, what would stop OSHA from going back to the files on ANY workplace death or accident for indefinite years past and fining them for not meeting current safety regulations? ie: What? You didn't have 2010's standards of safety in 1999? Well that's a fine...

Jamianne
07-13-2010, 06:37 PM
OSHA cannot go back and fine retroactively for years past. They have to investigate complaints/injuries/fatalities/etc. right away and have to have paperwork filed within a few months. The final fines might take over a year to come out, but they cannot continue to add fines to it once the initial paperwork is submitted. And the final fines are often much lower than the original ones.