Walmart responds to employees' safety concerns - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Walmart responds to employees' safety concerns

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Some employees at a tri-state Walmart store claim the company didn't follow through with their own safety procedures when a tornado warning was issued on March 2.

The procedure is called Code Black. Employees we talked with say everyone in the store should have been notified with an announcement once the tornado warning was issued. A spokesperson for Walmart says the Code Black is "a list of procedures, not just one action."

A 2:29 p.m. a tornado warning was issued for Perry County. 14 News coverage of the storm indicates that Tell City was in the path of the storm.

"I had a headset on that has an earphone in it and it came through that a tornado warning had been issued," said a Tell City employee who asked 14 News to conceal their identity. "At that time nothing happened," said that employee.

Walmart officials tell 14 News the issuance of a code black is up to the manager on duty.

Here's a detailed response provided to 14 News by Walmart:

  • All of our stores are set up to receive a phone call as soon as the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch or warning and severe thunderstorm warning. This notification is intended to alert management to be prepared to activate Code Black.
  • We expect our managers to monitor the situation and active the emergency protocols if a tornado is imminent.
  • In this case, our management team in Tell City was monitoring the weather at the time the warning was issued. Based on local conditions and radar repots the store was not in immediate danger and everyone inside was safe.
  • We are committed to the safety and security of our associates and customers and we never hesitate to interrupt business if a tornado is imminent.

Here's more information on Code Black from Walmart:
A Code Black (full activation, including shelter in place) is issued if the facility is in danger and when:

  • Alarm sirens activate, or-
  • An accurate/trusted source has announced the sighting of a tornado in the community, or
  • A tornado warning has been issued

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