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January 06, 2016

OSHA investigates after Pa. man loses arm at Walmart Distribution Center

Witness interviews, work-area examination planned as part of guidelines established by National Safety Council Alliance

Officials with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are investigating the circumstances surrounding a northeastern Pennsylvania man who lost his arm in an industrial accident at a Walmart Distribution Center late last month.

A spokeswoman for Walmart, Erica Jones, told the Pocono Times that the company would not release the identity of the victim or the nature of the incident pending the outcome of an investigation.

Denise Doremus, Operations Director of the Pocono Mountain Regional Ambulance, said the victim remains hospitalized after the Dec. 30 incident at the Tobyhanna Walmart Distribution Center. She could only disclose that the incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. that afternoon and the victim's arm was placed on ice while he was transported to Scranton's Geisinger-Community Medical Center.

OSHA, which sets and enforces workplace safety regulations, has jurisdiction over private-sector employers such as Walmart, with the exception of those who are self-employed, work on family farms or work for the government.

Mark Stelmack of OSHA's Wilkes-Barre Area Office confirmed an investigation into the incident is underway. Officials will conduct witness interviews and photograph the work area to better understand what happened, as well as search for any systemic problems that can be addressed to prevent future incidents.

Jones said Walmart is fully supporting the victim and his family and the company is committed to the safety and security of its associates as a top priority.