OSHA fines Home Depot $150,700; repeat safety hazards

OSHA fines Home Depot $150,700; repeat safety hazards

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Home Depot Inc. for eight safety violations, including seven repeat, carrying proposed penalties of $150,700 after an inspection at its Reynoldsburg store. The inspection was initiated under the site-specific targeting program that directs enforcement resources to workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur.

"By failing to correct previously cited deficiencies, Home Depot continues to dismiss a culture of safety as a priority," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health."

A total of seven repeat violations cited include failing to block exit routes; inspect flexible cords and then use cords with missing ground pins and damaged insulation; effectively close unused openings in electrical cabinets; use flexible wiring in lieu of required fixed wiring; and install plates on receptacles, thus exposing workers to 120 volts of live electricity. The other violations include failing to review, sign and provide record-keeping documents within four hours, as requested by inspectors. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited at various Home Depot stores nationwide from 2010 through 2012.

One serious violation was cited for failing to bond and ground flammable, liquid storage containers during transfer to prevent accidental electrical discharge. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

To view the current citations, click here.

Additionally, in April, one repeat and one other-than-serious violation were cited at the Reynoldsburg store for failing to include pertinent and specific information and report within seven days an incident on OSHA illness-and-injury log. The company signed a settlement agreement for the citations and paid a penalty of $4,620. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Based in Atlanta, the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer has 2,258 retail stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. Fiscal year 2012 sales totaled $74.8 billion, and earnings totaled $4.5 billion. Three hundred associates are employed companywide, with 145 workers at the Reynoldsburg store.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

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