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OSHA Files New Home Depot Case

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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Cited more than 120 times in five years, the world’s largest home-improvement retailer is now facing repeat accusations of federal safety violations at one of its Chicago stores.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Home Depot USA Inc. for six violations, including a willful violation for failure to remove a damaged truck from service. Proposed fines total $110,700.

The citations also include two repeat and three serious infractions at its store on North Kimball Avenue in Chicago.


Home Depot USA Inc. was cited for six safety violations, including two repeat, at one of its Chicago stores. Proposed fines total $110,700.

Founded in 1978, the Atlanta, GA-based home-improvement giant serves both contractors and do-it-yourselfers.

Home Depot could not be reached for comment Monday (Aug. 4).

In the last five years, Home Depot has been cited more than 120 times nationwide for safety and health violations at its 2,256 U.S. stores, according to OSHA.

Repeat Violations and More

The new case alleges repeat and willful violations involving lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles.

One repeat violation alleges failure to evaluate forklift operators' performance at least once every three years. The Home Depot was previously cited for this violation in July 2012 at its Douglasville, GA.


Home Depot has been cited more than 120 times by OSHA in the last five years.

"Employees at this Home Depot store used powered industrial vehicles around the clock to receive stock and transport goods to customers' vehicles. This made maintenance and operator training for these vehicles vital to employee safety," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director for Chicago North.

"Employers, such as Home Depot, have a responsibility to re-evaluate safety procedures corporate wide. When cited for a hazard at one store, they need to ensure that all stores have incorporated the necessary safety procedures and training."

A second repeat violation was issued for failing to perform shift-by-shift inspections of forklifts. This violation was cited in 2010 at Home Depot stores in Tampa, Florida, and Chicago.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

The proposed fines for the repeat violations total $27,500.

Willful and Serious Violations

One willful violation, OSHA's highest level of infraction, was issued for failing to repair an industrial truck and remove it from use. That violation carries a proposed fine of $70,000.

Three serious violations were cited for lack of protective gear, lack of an emergency eye-flushing machine, and failing to protect electrical cords from accidental damage.

The company put workers at risk by exposing them to the potential of chemical burns from sulfuric acid by failing to require the use of eye, face and hand protection when checking water levels on machinery, according to OSHA.

An eyewash station was not easily available to employees as it was blocked by equipment and battery charging stations.

Finally, electrical cords were not protected from accidental damage from being pinched between machinery.

These three violations carry a proposed fine of $13,200.

Focus on Industrial Vehicles

The Chicago store’s inspection took place in January as a part of OSHA’s Local Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Vehicles.

According to OSHA, thousands of workers are injured, sometimes fatally, each year while operating industrial-powered vehicles.

The local emphasis program was implemented to reduce fatalities and injuries caused by the vehicles.

Between 2005 and 2013, the vehicles caused 105 occupational fatalities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio, according to OSHA.


Tagged categories: Contractors; Health and safety; Home Depot; OSHA; Renovation; Repair materials

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