Chicago Home Depot Employee Workers Compensation Lawyer
Most positions at Home Depot require manual labor by loading and unloading merchandise and moving heavy items.
For example, a Home Depot sales floor associate is often expected to inventory inbound shipments, stock the items on the sales floor, mix paint, and build impressive end caps to promote merchandise during special sales.
Were you or a family member injured while employed at Home Depot?
If so, you are likely entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC for more information through a free consultation and case review to discuss your legal claim so you can receive the benefits you deserve.
Call a workers compensation attorney in Chicago, Illinois at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
Home Depot workers wear various hats while working as sales associates in the home improvement center. These jobs include stocking shelves, maintaining the floor, and assisting customers.
Typically, workers are assigned to a specialty department, including gardening, carpeting, paint, electric, plumbing, hardware, lumber, outdoor furniture, appliances, freight associate, and other departments.
Additionally, depending on the store's location, many associates will perform duties outside the realm of sales associates by performing warehouse work or cashiering.
Interpersonal skills, hands-on construction experience, and years of sales knowledge are some of the major attributes of successful workers at Home Depot who are familiar with typical construction projects and the necessary tools, equipment, and materials to get the job done.
While knowledge and proven quality customer service are essential to maintaining the job, physical strength and stamina are also important for lifting heavy building materials, lumber, and equipment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sales associates at home-improvement centers are paid on average slightly higher than other retailers in the sales industry.
Entry-level workers working with garden equipment and building materials can expect an hourly wage of $12 or more, significantly higher than other retail professions. Managers and supervisors can expect to earn $20 or more per hour.
Home Depot Worker Hazards
In recent years, home-improvement centers have become popular due to low prices, easy accessibility, and the ability to purchase nearly every item needed for the home under one roof. However, working in a warehouse setting disguised as a retail establishment can be dangerous to employees.
Usually, heavy merchandise is typically stacked on one or more shelves above the products for sale requiring forklifts and other tools to load and unload merchandise. As a result, serious workplace injuries and fatalities happening in home-improvement big-box stores are not uncommon occurrences.
While it is the duty of the store owner, managers, and supervisors to maintain safety in the workplace, everyone must identify hazards that have the potential of causing significant harm to customers, visitors, and employees.
Most common accidents occur at Home Depot, Lowes, and other home-improvement centers because of inattention or inconsistent work practices that could lead to illness, partial disability, or injury.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides retailers with a long list of safety recommendations to ensure that the workplace remains safe.
Some of these recommendations include:
- Warehouse Ergonomics: Because workers at Home Depot are required to lift heavy building materials as a part of their general duties, the store should make available forklifts, motorized lifting jacks, and tools to lift heavy boxes that do not require working in prolonged awkward positions.
- Personal Ergonomics: Hardware store workers are subjected to repetitive motion injuries resulting from reaching, lifting, pushing, and pulling through forceful exertion. The store should also provide every worker PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to protect the employee from crushing hazards, impact injuries, and respiratory problems when worn. Many Home Depot and Lowes locations are cited with a common OSHA violation of failing to use proper respiratory protection.
- Clean and Dry Floors: Supervisors and Managers should ensure that the sales floor and warehouse/storage areas remain clean and dry. Slippery floors account for most slipping and falling accidents, representing approximately 12% of major injuries occurring in big-box home-improvement centers.
- Safe Stacking Practices: Nearly 20% of all reported injuries and deaths occur in Home Depot, Lowes, and other home-improvement centers or are caused by falling objects. Developing and enforcing safe stacking practices when loading and unloading merchandise can prevent this tragic work accident from occurring.
- Better Security Measures: Shoplifting and similar crimes occur in every retail establishment, including home-improvement centers. Using active surveillance cameras and security alarm systems, along with positioning a security guard in a conspicuous location, can minimize the potential dangers associated with criminal activity.
- Better Lighting: Areas with low light might create an ideal ambiance, but poor lighting increases crime accidents. Low-lit areas make it easier to steal goods and make it difficult for employees and customers to see debris and other materials on the floor that could lead to a slip and fall accident. The store should install the best lighting possible up and down every aisle, at the entrance, along with the front end, and back in the stock rooms.
- Employee Training: Employees must be properly trained to handle emergencies using first-aid. When necessary, calling for emergency medical care can minimize injuries and save lives by providing immediate medical treatment. Employees should be trained on applying first-aid in an emergency and make a quick decision to call 911 for help for medical help.
- Continuous Visual Monitoring: When the employees are trained to inspect the premises continuously, they can quickly identify spilled items, uneven flooring, debris in the aisleway, uneven parking lot surfaces, and other hazards that could cause a slip and fall injury. The problems include misplaced boxes, improperly stored merchandise stacked high on storage racks, and other precarious situations causing severe injuries and death.
Home Depot Employees' Wages
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2016, involving employment data of the previous year, there were 4660 home improvement store workers on the job in the Chicago, Naperville, and Arlington Heights metropolitan areas.
These statistics reveal that workers at Home Depot in northeastern Illinois earned $16.36 per hour, or $34,030 annually, on average. These earning wages are slightly higher than the national averages.
Home Depot Fatalities and Severe Injuries
Every year, many workers and patrons at Home Depot suffer serious injuries or are killed in the store due to negligence and violent attacks. The cases listed below are just a small sample of the serious problems occurring in large home-improvement centers.
- Case 1: Lubbock, Texas: A 23-year-old Lowe's Home-improvement Center supervisor died of serious injuries after approximately 800 pieces of heavy lumber crushed him when a cantilever rack fell. The decedent had been employed at the Lubbock, Texas, Lowe's Center for approximately one year and seven months before the accident. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) investigated the incident and found documentation that "the employer had very specific procedures for changing the bases on a cantilever Star rack system, but the supervisor did not follow the procedures."
- Case 2: Twin Falls, Idaho: A family stopped at their local Home Depot store to purchase items for their new home. Just minutes after entering the store, a kitchen countertop weighing more than a ton fell approximately 10 feet from the tongs of a forklift and crushed the 3-year-old daughter who died at the hospital.
- Case 3: Danbury, Connecticut: A forty-one-year-old patron at the local Home Depot store, along with his brother, was injured when approximately one ton of landscaping timber fell and struck the victims. One customer died, and his brother was seriously injured.
- Case 4: Santa Monica, California: A 79-year-old female patron shopping at the local Home Depot Home-Improvement Center became the fatal victim of a serious accident when a 75-pound box of wood fell off the 20-foot-high shelf and hit the shopper, causing a fatal head wound.
- Case 5: Chicago, Illinois: In an OSHA news release, it was revealed that "Home Depot USA's Chicago store was cited by OSHA for serious hazards." The document reveals a lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles. Proposed penalties totaled $110,700." During the time of the citation, the Campbell Avenue store employed 210 workers. The federal agency issued "one willful violation for failing to remove from service a powered industrial truck in need of repair. A willful violation is one committed with the intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health."
- The store also faced a repeated violation for "failing to evaluate forklift operators' performance at least once every three years. The Home Depot was previously cited for this violation" at a Douglasville, Georgia store back in 2012. "This violation was previously cited in 2010 at Home Depot stores in Tampa, Florida, and Chicago. The repeated violation exists when an employer previously has been cited [for a] similar violation of the standard, regulation, rule, or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years."
- Case 6: Reynoldsburg, Ohio: OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) cited an Ohio Home Depot store for eight safety violations that carried penalties of $150,700. The citation involved seven repeated violations that were identified after an inspection that occurred at the Reynoldsburg store.
The company was cited for seven repeated violations that included a failure to inspect flexible cords before using the electrical cords that had damaged insulation and missing grounding pins, blocking access routes, failing to install plates on electrical receptacles, and using flexible wiring where fixed wiring was required.
How Workers Can Protect Themselves: Filing Workers' Compensation Claims
Home Depot management and the corporate office must ensure that every employee remains safe at work and provides workers compensation insurance if injured.
When a workplace accident occurs, and a Home Depot employee is injured or killed, it is the company's responsibility through their insurance company to provide compensation and cover medical expenses, funeral expenses, death benefits, and lost wages through their insurance company.
Every injured Home Depot employee is entitled to receive workers' compensation and collect benefits to cover their medical expenses (including physical therapy) and time away from work due to debilitating injuries.
However, some injured Home Depot employees have sought legal assistance to extend their financial recovery by proving the serious negligence of others who caused their injuries from a workplace accident.
No-Fault Workers' Compensation Programs to Protect Injured Employees
The workers' compensation system was designed to protect employees in workplace accidents, even if the work injury resulted from their own negligence.
The Home Depot workers' compensation coverage pays for immediate medical attention, ongoing medical care, all medical bills, and lost earnings associated with the work injury.
Injured Home Depot employees can receive additional benefits for total or partial disabilities who were hurt at the store or while doing company business during a truck/car accident.
Unfortunately, the Home Depot employee workers' compensation system limits the benefits to economic damages only, not covering the employee for any mental anxiety, pain, suffering, or emotional distress associated with their work injury accident.
Fortunately, death benefits are available to surviving family members through the workers' compensation program and possibly through third-party claims if anyone's negligence that led to the death was egregious.
In some cases, the insurer denies the policy if the claims adjuster or insurance company suspects that the injury was not work-related.
However, the insurance company cannot make its own rules. Still, it must follow state law and pay every injured employee, according to the rules, in a timely manner for any injuries associated with the accident.
Are You Ready to Get Started on Your Workers' Compensation Claim for Lost Wages?
Our lawyers help injured workers recover compensation through civil lawsuits and the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act. Call our workers' compensation benefits law firm to schedule a free consultation and case review today.
Have you been denied workers' compensation benefits or believe that you might be denied a claim? Our legal experts can provide the assistance you need to resolve your case successfully.
Our attorneys will also review your workers’ compensation claim to ensure that your employer and insurance company are held financially accountable. Contact our law firm for a free consultation.
Contact a Home Depot Workers' Compensation Attorney & Workplace Injury Law Firm to Begin Your Injury Claim
A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney could assist your family in successfully resolving your maximum compensation claim against all parties at fault.
Our law firm working on your behalf can handle every aspect of the case to ensure the appropriate documentation is filed before the Illinois statute of limitations expires.
We provide a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options.
You never need to make any upfront payment for legal services because our personal injury law firm accepts all workers’ compensation claims through contingency fee agreements.
This arrangement allows your legal fees to be postponed until after our attorneys have successfully resolved your case at trial or through a negotiated out-of-court settlement for you to receive benefits.
All information you share with your worker's compensation attorney remains private through an attorney-client relationship. We guarantee if we are unsuccessful at winning, you do not pay!
Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757, or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.