By MikeMozartJeepersMedia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On March 15, 2016 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued five health and safety citations and a resultant $118,800 in proposed fines to Walmart Corporation after inspecting their store in Pensacola, Florida.
Several of the citations were classified as repeat violations, including failure to provide Hepatitis B vaccinations to employees or any information about the disease. Others were classified as serious citations, including one citation for leaving electrical equipment in areas that could have been serious fire hazards and not training designated employees about bloodborne pathogens.
In 2013, OSHA had previously cited the company for their safety failures regarding Hepatitis B cleanup. Walmart signed an agreement in 2013 as part of a settlement that reduced their citation fines at the time from $190,000 to $35,000 in exchange for allowing OSHA to conduct regular health-monitoring inspections that would serve to protect Walmart employees from hazardous workplace conditions.
“The blood-borne pathogen and safe access violations were previously cited and also covered in the settlement agreement, yet employees are still being exposed to these hazards,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director for Pensacola, Florida. “It is very frustrating to see that these hazards continue to exist and is a clear indication management is not actively involved in the safety and health program.”
In the future, Walmart can improve safety in all its locations by implementing a comprehensive occupational health program. Using tools like cloud-based safety softwares which can be accessed and monitored across a wide network, the company should look into OSHA regulations on a regular basis and do thorough self-checks. This kind of strategy can mitigate hazards even before they occur. This will not only help the corporation to avoid future fines and citations, but also will improve the professional and personal safety of all its employees.