OSHA cites Home Depot for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Saratoga Springs, New York, store, proposes US$51,480 in fines
ALBANY, New York
May 17, 2012
– The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Home Depot Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its store located at 3043 state Route 50 in Saratoga Springs. The retailer faces a total of $51,480 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Albany Area Office.
OSHA's inspection found that the required working space around eight electrical equipment panels was used for storage, which consequently restricted employees' access to circuit breakers in the event of an emergency. Because Home Depot had been cited by OSHA in 2010 and 2012 for similar hazards at its Keene, N.H., and Vineland, N.J., stores, respectively, OSHA issued a citation with $44,000 in proposed fines for one repeat violation at the Saratoga Springs store. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
"Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to shocks, eye injuries and potential electrocution," said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. "Employers with multiple locations who correct hazards at one location should take effective steps to ensure that similar hazards do not occur at other workplaces."
Two serious violations involve missing breakers and uncovered openings in electric panels, as well as a lack of protective eyewear for an employee operating a saw. 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. The citations carry $7,480 in penalties.
"One way for employers to minimize hazards is to establish and maintain an effective illness and injury prevention program in which they work with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Atlanta-based Home Depot has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Albany office at 518-464-4338.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.