Beware: Working/Shopping May Be Dangerous to Your Health

Feb 24, 2003

By George Anderson

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports accidents involving associates and shoppers are on the rise at Home Depot.

Last year, the retailer was cited for 86 violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This was up from 34 in 1999. Nine workers died from injuries sustained in workplace accidents at the company during that period.

The combination of high warehouse racks loaded with heavy items has caused accidents that have hurt and sometimes killed shoppers, as well. Home Depot does not publicly disclose the number of accidents involving consumers at its store locations.

Home Depot is not the only big box retailer being scrutinized for safety conditions. In California, all warehouse stores are required to use safety devices on shelves more than 12 feet tall. State law also requires “stores to report all injuries that require hospitalization, including emergency room visits, and deaths.”

Moderator’s Comment: Are warehouse stores inherently
more dangerous to shop in than smaller ones? What should be done to safeguard
workers and shoppers?

Home Depot began using netting to protect against merchandise
falling from high shelves inside its stores back in 2001. A company spokesperson
told the Atlanta Business Chronicle about 75 percent of Home Depot stores have
installed the netting. It plans to have the netting in all its locations. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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