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Wal-Mart Agrees To Precedent Setting Corporate-Wide Settlement With OSHA

In August of 2013, OSHA announced that Wal-Mart agreed to a corporate-wide settlement involving multiple citations and alleged violations of the Occupational Safety & Health Act. As a condition of the settlement, Wal-Mart agreed to take affirmative measures to improve employee safety and health conditions not only in the store in Rochester, New York, but also in 2,857 other Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores across 28 states within the federal OSHA jurisdiction. According to David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, the settlement will assist thousands of Wal-Mart employees to remain safe and healthy on the job.  Such corporate-wide settlements are rare but not unprecedented. However, this settlement agreement requires Wal-Mart, at its own expense, to arrange for independent third-party monitors to inspect at least 80% of the Wal-Mart stores under federal OSHA jurisdiction every four months for the duration of the two year term of the settlement. In light of this settlement, employers operating in multiple locations such as department stores and large retailers, movie theaters, restaurants, hotels, manufacturers and healthcare employers should now consider doing a comprehensive review of their safety and health practices and overall level of compliance with OSHA requirements.

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