A Home Depot store in Chicago has been cited by OSHA for six violations, including two repeat, one willful, and three serious safety violations. The repeat and willful violations involved lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles.
Employees at this Home Depot location used powered vehicles around-the-clock to accept stock and move goods to customers’ vehicles. According to OSHA, the type and duration of these activities made operator training and maintenance for these vehicles vital to employee safety. The failures at this store call in to question Home Depot’s corporate-wide safety procedures and should motivate it to ensure that all stores have integrated the necessary safety procedures and training.
In the past five years, countrywide, Home Depot has been cited over 120 times for health and safety violations at its stores, which employ approximately 325,000 people.
Annually, thousands of workers are injured, sometimes fatally, while operating these powered vehicles. From 2005 through 2013, these vehicles were involved in 105 occupational fatalities in Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin alone.
In July 2012, Home Depot was cited by OSHA for failing to evaluate the performance of forklift operators’ at its Douglasville, Georgia store. A second repeat violation was issued for failing to perform shift-by-shift inspections of forklifts.
In addition to the numerous violations noted previously, three serious violations were issued for exposing workers to chemical burns from sulfuric acid by failing to require the use of face, eye and hand protection when working with powered industrial vehicle batteries.
The home improvement retail giant has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply with or contest the OSHA findings.