Posted On: May 27, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Wal-Mart Worker’s Death Leads to OSHA Citation and $7,000 Fine

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is citing and fining Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for the death of a Wal-Mart employee during a Black Friday shopping event on November 28, 2008. OSHA says that store employees were placed at risk of being crushed by the crowd because Wal-Mart neglected to put into place “reasonable and effective” crowd management principles and, instead, engaged in inadequate crowd management. He died of asphyxiation.

OSHA is also accusing the Wal-Mart store of failing to provide workers with the tools and training required to manage the crowd of approximately 2,000 shoppers that rushed into the store. The crowd knocked seasonal worker Jdimytai Damour onto the ground, trampling him as they broke down doors to get to the sale items.

The OSHA fine for the citation is $7,000—the maximum fine possible for a serious OSHA violation. Based on past Black Friday experiences, an OSHA representative said that the store should have foreseen that effective crowd control tactics needed to be put in place. Wal-Mart disagrees with the citation and claims that it could not have anticipated Damour’s tragic worker accident. Wal-Mart spokesperson Daphne Moore says that OSHA and the retail industry do not provide guidance for such situations and that, in fact, the company had implemented crowd management precautions on the day Damour died.

The retailer has agreed to improve its post-Thanskgiving day crowd management strategy, pay $400,000 to victims that were injured during last year’s Black Friday trampling incident, and give $1.5 million to nonprofit and social services groups. The deal with prosecutors allows the retail chain to avoid criminal charges in Damour’s death.

Most injured workers and immediate family workers of those killed in Illinois work accidents are entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits from their employers.

OSHA cites Wal-Mart in trampling death, Newsday.com, May 26, 2009

Wal-Mart pays $2M to avoid charges in death probe, AP/Trib.com, May 6, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Family Of Wal-Mart Employee Jdimytai Damour Sues Over Trampling Death, The Huffington Post, December 3, 2008

Wal-Mart Worker’s Black Friday Death Was Preventable, ChicagoWorkersCompensationLawyerBlog, December 2, 2008

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