Walmart sales soared, essential workers got scant protection

Business

In this image for the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, shoppers walk out of a Walmart store in Waldorf, Md., May 7, 2021. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not cited the nation’s largest retailer despite employee complaints, illnesses and deaths at Walmart facilities across the country. The company says there is no proof that employees contracted COVID-19 at work. (Brittany N. Gaddy/University of Maryland via AP)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism reports that worker safety oversight in the U.S. rarely leads to consequences for companies that aren’t protecting employees from COVID-19.

It says a fraction of COVID-related complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lead to inspections. Fewer result in penalties.

OSHA has not cited the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, despite employee complaints, illnesses and deaths.

Walmart says there is no proof that employees got sick at work, even while some facilities are linked to triple-digit cases.

Essential employees are left to fend for themselves in environments where they have little control.

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