The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on Thursday vacated a $10,864 fine against Walmart Inc. over alleged storage violations after a worker was struck from above by an unknown number of crescent roll containers at a Walmart distribution center in Johnstown, New York, in 2017.
The review commission wrote that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inappropriately interpreted only part of its rules on secure storage that storage “of material shall not create a hazard. Bags, containers, bundles, etc., stored in tiers shall be stacked, blocked, interlocked and limited in height so that they are stable and secure against sliding or collapse,” according to documents in Secretary of Labor v. Walmart Inc., filed in Washington.
“Here, the Secretary relies on the first sentence… (s)torage of material shall not create a hazard” — and asserts that the standard applies to material stored ‘in any manner.’ We disagree,” the ruling states.
“Reading (the rule) as a whole, it is clear that the first sentence is merely a precatory or hortatory introduction to the second sentence, which contains the operative, specific requirements of the provision,” of which the crescent rolls did not apply as there lacks evidence that the pallets there were stored upon were ever stacked upon one another, according to the ruling.
“While photographic evidence shows that the industry-standard selective racking levels in Walmart’s distribution center were themselves arranged one above another, there is no dispute that each rack level held one pallet, with space between the top of the merchandise on each pallet and the bottom of the next rack level. Moreover, the Secretary has never alleged that the racking was itself unstable. Accordingly, we find the cited standard does not apply and therefore reverse the judge’s decision and vacate the citation.”