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It’s Worth $2M to Wal-Mart to Avoid an OSHA Fine

How much do big firms pay to avoid responsibility for workplace safety issues? It's a topic we talk about a lot at Markhoff & Mittman, and a recent news article presents it in stark relief.

When a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death during a Black Friday shopping event in 2008, the company paid millions of dollars to improve crowd management techniques and reduce stress among its staff. But it also received a fine from the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration that it has fought vigorously.

How vigorously? The New York Times investigated and found that at least $2 million has been spent by the company on its legal defense against the accusations. That's more than 4,000 billable hours for lawyers on either side.

Now, keep in mind that Wal-Mart is a major employer and one of the largest private firms. It's also instituted new programs for crowd management. They're still willing to pay more than some of our staff make in a decade just to fight it.

It's amazing, simply because stress management programs and other methods can cost so much less and still pay dividends to conscientious employers.

You can check out our resources section for help and ideas about how to reduce your stress and ideas for both you and your employer. It's important to realize, as the Wal-Mart case proves, how important it is to them to not have a stigma attached.

That's why having people on your side can be key. If you've been hurt because of a stress management issue or other workplace safety failure, contact us at Markhoff & Mittman to discuss how you can move on and move forward.

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