Target Fined $21k for Death After Ladder Accident

October 1, 2015


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Washington state’s Department of Labor and Industries has fined the retailer Target $21,000 following a worker’s death after a ladder accident at a Lake Stevens Target in June. L&I cited the store for three serious workplace safety violations, according to findings published on Monday. Each of those violations includes a $7,000 fine.

Target has since moved to appeal the fines and will present its case at a hearing scheduled in the coming weeks.

The workplace accident occurred on June 7 when Marjorie M. Reed, 58, sustained fatal head injuries from a ladder fall. She was stocking shelves around 5:15 a.m. and fell while retrieving an item from an upper shelf.

According to L&I investigators, the store in the Frontier Village shopping area had not properly trained its employees on safe ladder use, including the 10-foot portable model that Reed was standing on during her ladder accident.

In fact, all three safety findings were connected to how employees used ladders. One finding was for allowing workers to lean over the sides of ladders, which creates a high danger of imbalance at heights. Another citation was for permitting employees to carry products by hand while simultaneously climbing down ladders. The third finding came from Target providing a ladder with a bent footing for Reed to use. That structural flaw may have contributed to the accident.

The store had been required to fix these problems by Friday.

L&I investigates workplace injuries and deaths across the state. In Snohomish County, fines for safety problems have been issued in recent months for fatalities in a Lynnwood forklift accident, a lawn-mower crash in Tulalip, and electrocution in Edmonds.

Car crashes and falls are the two most common causes of workplace fatalities in Washington State, according to L&I data.

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