OSHA cites Wal-Mart, says conditions at Cobleskill store unsafe
COBLESKILL Federal regulators are proposing a $52,600 fine against the Wal-Mart Corp. following allegations of workplace deficiencies at the Walmart Super Center in Cobleskill.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said its inspectors found several issues including the inability of employees to move pallet jacks around the store because aisles and passageways were obstructed with merchandise.
Other issues alleged include:
• Portable fire extinguishers were not mounted and located in safely accessible areas.
• An electrical conduit entering a control box presented an electrical hazard because it was not connected to the box with a fitting and “strain relief.”
Similar citations were found in Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio and Texas, according to OSHA, so these alleged violations are considered “repeat violations” and therefore yield a major fine of $48,200.
Another $4,400 in fines were levied on allegations that the store didn’t have eye, face and hand protection, nor adequate training, for employees using a cardboard baler — a machine that compresses waste cardboard and binds it for transport.
OSHA spokesman Ted Fitzgerald said Thursday the corporation has 15 business days to respond to the citations and could contest the findings.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said later Thursday the corporation sent additional staff to the Cobleskill store, located at 139 Merchant Place, to address the issues.
“First and foremost, we’re committed to providing our associates with a safe working environment. We take workplace safety seriously,” Whaling said.
She said Wal-Mart officials are working with OSHA to resolve the citations.
Wal-Mart, which employs roughly 1.4 million people in the United States, reported $443.9 billion in sales during the fiscal year ending in January 2012.