Home centers and DART injuries

In this article, we’ll be examining another group that recently received “outreach letters” from fed-OSHA. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Home Centers (NAICS 444110) are “primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new home repair and improvement materials and supplies, such as lumber, plumbing goods, electrical goods, tools, housewares, hardware, and lawn and garden supplies, with no one merchandise line predominating. The merchandise lines are normally arranged in separate departments.” The big names in this part of the country (Nashville) are Lowe’s and Home Depot (more on them later).

1,833 letters went to home centers. The 2010 top 10 DARTs:

  • Marion, IL (69.2)
  • Kansas City, MO (34.3)
  • Warwick, RI (31)
  • Reading, PA (29.8)
  • Troy, MO (28.9)
  • Huntington Station, NY (27.7)
  • Irwin, PA (27.4)
  • New Plymouth, ID (26.6)
  • San Marcos, TX (25.9)
  • Dexter, MO (25)

The good news is that the best-performing 300 or so at the “bottom” of the list posted relatively low rates of 2-3. This industry averaged 3.7 versus a national average of 1.9. And for the record, the “big two” that I mentioned are not in the top 10. In fact, they are not in the highest 28 of this group, despite accounting for 1,583 (86.3%) of the 1,833 letters.

What is causing all of these Days Away, Restricted or Transferred injuries? The usual suspects have to be loading and unloading lumber, paving stones, cinder blocks, patio furniture, appliances, cases of tile, sacks of concrete, doors, windows and just about any other big items that go in your home or yard.

This sector had approximately 0.5% (630,100) of the U.S. workforce in 2010, but received just over 12% of the OSHA DART letters. A “heads up” for our home center readers: based on the 2011 targeted inspection directive, the 60 facilities with DART rates above 15 (non-manufacturing) should expect a comprehensive inspection this year.

UL gives workforce health and safety professionals more of the tools they need to proactively address risks, reduce costs and keep people safe, healthy and on the job.