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Wal-Mart Cited by OSHA Over 2008 Trampling Death

By David Goguen | Last updated on

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. should have had more effective crowd control measures in place at a Long Island store on 2008's "Black Friday," when a temporary employee was crushed to death in a stampede of Wal-Mart shoppers. That was the finding in a citation issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today, which also ordered Wal-Mart --the world's largest retailer -- to pay a $7,000 fine, an amount likely dwarfed by what the company earned in the time it took you to read this sentence.

In the November 28, 2008 incident that sparked the OSHA citation, Jdimytai Damour, a 34-year-old temporary employee, was trampled and died of asphyxiation after a crowd of shoppers burst through the front doors of a Wal-Mart store in Valley Stream, New York, in a race to get their hands on a limited supply of advertised sale items.

In a Press Release announcing the citation against Wal-Mart, OSHA said its investigation found that "the store's employees were exposed to being crushed by the crowd due to the store's failure to implement reasonable and effective crowd management principles," including "necessary training and tools to safely manage the large crowd of shoppers."

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart reached an agreement with the District Attorney of New York's Nassau County (where the Valley Stream Wal-Mart store is located) under which the retail giant escaped criminal prosecution in connection with Damour's death. Wal-Mart agreed to pay about $2 million in various penalties and to implement new post-Thanksgiving crowd-control measures at all of its New York stores.

The citation against Wal-Mart was issued under OSHA's authority to reduce workplace hazards and regulate safety conditions for many of America's workers, and to take enforcement action for employers' safety violations. OSHA was created through Congress's enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. Learn more about OSHA and Workplace Safety.

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