More tough press for Walmart: The megastore will pay a $190,000 fine after "repeat and serious" health and safety violations affecting employees were uncovered at a Rochester, New York, store in 2011. But the second part of the deal, announced yesterday, is far more wide-reaching. The chain also agreed to beef up safety conditions at 2,857 stores in 28 states (as the Guardian explains, the deal is with the Labor Department, and those are all the stores that fall under federal jurisdiction). What OSHA found in Rochester: no training on hazardous cleaning chemicals, blocked exits, and unsafe trash compactor procedures.
Walmart stores in nine states have been cited for those same violations between 2008 and 2010, and the chain has been the subject of more than 100 OSHA reports in the last five years. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle shares some of the policies that will be put in place as a result: Going forward, trash compactors will only be operated in the presence of a trained manager or monitor, and will be otherwise locked; workers will also no longer handle undiluted chemicals. The paper spoke with a Walmart rep who says the changes will apply to stores in all 50 states.