Safety violations found by OSHA inspectors at three Pennsylvania Lowe’s stores resulted in proposed fines totaling $96,030. All of these dangerous conditions could have resulted in workers suffering serious injuries in the job. What’s more bothersome, though, is that a majority of these fines are for repeat offenses.
A Lowe’s location in Palmyra that employs 140 people was fined $33,220 for two repeated offenses of not giving personal protective equipment to its workers who were exposed routinely to liquid chemicals that are known to cause serious injury.
A second Lowe’s store in Carlisle that employs 161 people was fined $61,820 for five repeated offenses. Similarly to the Palmyra location, this store also failed to provide protective gear to employees who handled hazardous chemicals.
The store’s management was also accused of exposing workers to improperly labeled chemical containers, being in possession of forklifts that had been unsafely modified, and using flex cable in place of fixed, shielded wiring.
The third Lowe’s store, located in Hanover and employing 191 workers, was fined $990 for a number of unsafe work practices. Like the Carlisle location, it too is accused of using flexible wiring in place of fixed cable. Management was also cited for running flex cable through a wall opening, not labeling electrical equipment and even obstructing a fire alarm in a manner that prevented its handle from being pulled to alert store patrons and workers of a fire.
In a press release, the director of OSHA’s Harrisburg Area Office claimed that Lowe’s continues to violate federal law by not addressing previous health and safety violations. He stated that Lowe’s is perfectly aware of the regulations and that this disregard for law “will not be tolerated.”
Lowe’s should realize that it is within everyone’s best interests for safety regulations to be followed. Workers will be less likely to suffer serious injuries on the job, and the company will be less likely to be sued for allowing these hazards to exist in the workplace.
Source: OSHA Regional News Release, “US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes $96,000 in fines for continued workplace safety and health violations at 3 Lowe’s stores in Pennsylvania,” Oct. 10, 2011.