Region 2 News Release: 10-1002-NEW/BOS 2010-316
Tues., July 20, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $112,000 in fines against Home Depot
USA for uncorrected and recurring hazards at West Nyack, NY, store
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed $112,000 in fines against Home Depot USA Inc., chiefly for failing to correct hazards previously cited at the retail chain's West Nyack, N.Y., store.
"These sizable fines stem from Home Depot's failure to correct specific hazards, as well as allowing other hazards to occur repeatedly," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's area director in Tarrytown. "We will neither accept nor tolerate employers' repeated failures to correct hazardous conditions."
OSHA cited the store in September 2008 for failing to provide suitable emergency drenching facilities for employees who might be splashed with hazardous chemicals, and for not providing required information and training to employees whose duties involve potential exposure to methylene chloride. The case was settled in February 2009 and the company was expected to submit proof of abatement to OSHA. When Home Depot failed to respond to multiple requests for the information, OSHA began a follow-up inspection.
The new inspection found that workers in the store's painting and plumbing departments still lacked suitable emergency drenching facilities and methylene chloride information and training. These uncorrected conditions prompted OSHA to issue Home Depot two notices of failure to abate, carrying $82,500 in proposed fines. OSHA issues notices of failure to abate when an employer fails to correct previously cited hazards.
The follow-up inspection also found a similar hazard, lack of quick drenching facilities, for workers in the cleaning supply department and the garden department's pool supply area. For this recurring hazard, OSHA issued the store one repeat citation with a $25,000 fine. Finally, the store was issued two serious citations with $4,500 in fines, for failing to store incompatible chemicals separately, thus exposing workers to potential inhalation of chlorine gas should the chemicals be accidentally mixed, and for not providing safety goggles to workers. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
Home Depot has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Tarrytown Area Office, telephone 914-524-7510. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
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 assure 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.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.