Home Depot Cited for Exposing Workers to Electrical Hazards at Chicago Store; Proposed Penalties More Than $69,000


Chicago, IL (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Atlanta-based The Home Depot Inc. for two repeat and one serious safety violations for exposing employees to electrical hazards at a Chicago store. OSHA opened an inspection in July that was prompted by a referral about blocked electrical panels in the store. Proposed fines total $69,300.

"The Home Depot has a responsibility to protect the safety of its employees by minimizing exposure to hazards, such as by clearly marking electrical boxes," said Diane Turek, director of OSHA's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines.

The repeat violations involve failing to ensure that all service, feeder and branch circuits, as well as the circuits' disconnecting means and overcurrent devices, were marked to indicate their purpose, and that materials were not stored in the space around electrical equipment. 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. The same violations were cited at multiple stores in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

The serious violation was issued for failing to ensure that all electrical equipment was marked with the voltage level. 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 Home Depot has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference 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 Chicago North office at 847-803-4800.

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.

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