Friday, May 29, 2009

Wal-Mart charged 18 seconds' worth of revenue for death of employee

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Garden City, N.Y. -- The death of a temporary employee who was crushed in a stampede of post-Thanksgiving shoppers at a Wal-Mart store could have been prevented, federal officials said Tuesday as they proposed fining the world's largest retailer $7,000 -- as much as it makes in about 18 seconds.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it was citing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for inadequate crowd management after the Nov. 28 death of Jdimytai Damour at a Long Island store.


The maximum fine allowed is $7,000, OSHA said. The agency said it issues such serious citations when "death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known."

Daphne Moore, a spokeswoman for the retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., said in a statement that Wal-Mart has "never had a tragedy like this occur in our stores, and we never want it to happen again."

The maximum fine allowed for a hazard that causes death is $7,000? No wonder labor is treated like crap in this country. Someone has to introduce a bill calling for higher fine ceilings for OSHA enforcement.