Every day, countless Alabamans put their life on the line when they go to work—police, firefighters, construction workers and many others. Even those who work in retail environments could be subjected to dangerous working conditions and suffer a work-related injury. The federal organization referred to as OSHA is charged with setting safety standards in all of the different industries to make sure that companies are in compliance. No company, large or small, is exempt from their inspections.
Between 2008 and 2010, Wal-mart stores in Alabama and eight other states were cited for safety violations that involved the use of trash compactors at some locations. Yet, that was not enough to persuade the big-box retailer to make changes in all of their stores. A 2011 OSHA inspection at a New York store revealed similar violations involving trash compactors as well as hazardous chemicals. The company negotiated an agreement that reduced a $365,000 fine for the safety violations down to $190,000. As part of the settlement, Wal-mart officials also agreed to make improvements to the area surrounding the compactors as well as change the policy regarding the use of chemicals in their stores. While just over 2,800 locations in 28 states are required by OSHA to implement the changes, Wal-mart plans to make the changes in more than 4,000 locations nationwide. It is unknown if the unsafe working conditions led to any crush injuries or illnesses.
Those who have suffered a work-related injury as a result of their employer’s negligence may want to speak with a personal injury attorney. Even if you accepted payment from a Worker’s Compensation Policy, you may still be entitled to seek additional compensation as a result of the accident. Your legal rights will depend on the unique circumstances of your situation.
Source: USA Today, “Wal-mart agrees to safety changes at nearly 2,900 stores,” Tom Tobin, August 9, 2013.