Home Depot USA Inc. has been cited for six, including two repeat, one willful and three serious safety violations, at its home improvement store on North Kimball Avenue in Chicago. The repeat and willful violations involved lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles. Proposed penalties total $110,700.
"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 corporatewide. When cited for a hazard at one store, they need to ensure that all stores have incorporated the necessary safety procedures and training."
Nationwide, Home Depot has been cited more than 120 times in the past five years for safety and health violations at its stores, which employ about 325,000 people. The Kimball Avenue store employs 210 workers.
OSHA opened the Jan. 27, 2014, inspection under the Local Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Vehicles, which is aimed at reducing the number of fatalities and injuries caused by these vehicles.
The vehicles have been the source of 105 occupational fatalities during fiscal years 2005 through 2013 in Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio.
OSHA issued one willful violation for failing to remove from service a powered industrial truck in need of repair.
A repeat violation was issued for failing to evaluate forklift operators' performance at least once every three years. The Home Depot was previously cited for this violation at its Douglasville, Georgia, store in July 2012. A second repeat violation was issued for failing to perform shift-by-shift inspections of forklifts. This violation was previously cited in 2010 at Home Depot stores in Tampa, Florida, and Chicago.
Three serious violations were issued for exposing workers to chemical burns from sulfuric acid by failing to require the use of eye, face and hand protection when adding water or checking water levels in powered industrial vehicle batteries. Home Depot also failed to provide an eyewash station for immediate emergency use for employees exposed to injurious corrosive materials while working with industrial batteries.
To view the citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/HomeDepot_956370_072414.pdf.