OSHA Hammers Home Depot for Repeat Electrical Hazards

The retailer faces a total of $51,480 in proposed fines.

OSHA has cited Home Depot Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the company’s store in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 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.

"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. The citations carry $7,480 in penalties.

A Home Depot spokesman said the retailer "takes the safety of our associates and these claims very seriously. We look forward to discussing these claims with OSHA. Home Depot has an industry leading health and safety program. We hold every store to the same high standard."

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.

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