In May 2009, the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was cited against by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for inadequately managing the crowd at their stores which caused the death of a worker on November 28, 2008. The worker was crushed by 2000 shoppers who were heading into the store on the annual “Blitz Friday” sales event. The store had failed to implement the appropriate practices required for managing the store and also not provided the required training and safety tools to its workers to handle such a huge crowd. The OSHA holds the position that even if any standard or specific rule has not been devised, the employer is legally liable to ensure the provision of a workplace which is free of any hazards to its employees (Wilcox & Marria, 2013). A huge crowd is life threatening in case proper management measures are not taken. With respect to the general duty clause under the OSHA, the store had exposed its workers to serious hazards of being crushed by the crowd or even dying from the lack of oxygen (Leeth, 2012). The store was cited a proposed fine of $7000; this is also the maximum amount which is charged as a penalty in case of violating this law. The violation of law holds greater significance due to the fact that such a hazard must be known by the employer and should have taken proper measures. Though Wal-Mart Stores Inc. contested the citation by OSHA before Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission but the judge upheld the citation and issued full penalty to the store. The OSHA also found during its investigations that the practices of crowd management practices have been promoted by the National Retail Federation while the company itself has implemented the control measures in its stores. Despite the fact that they have acted on this, the company still has to pay for violating the law in the past; already an employee has died and the company has to pay for exposing its workers as well as its customers to major hazard (Mcgarity & Steinzor et al., 2010). And not to forget that under the OSHA, it is the right of the employee to be given a safe workplace.
Leeth, J. (2012). OSHA's Role in Promoting Occupational Safety and Health. Foundations and Trendstextregistered in Microeconomics, 7 (4), 267--353.
Mcgarity, T., Steinzor, R., Shapiro, S. & Shudtz, M. (2010). Workers at risk: regulatory dysfunction at OSHA. Center for progressive reform white paper, (1003).
Wilcox, K. & Marria, S. (2013). Occupational Safety and Health Regulation. California Employment Law, 2.