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Home Depot faces OSHA fines

BY Brae Canlen

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Home Depot store in Chicago for two repeat and one serious alleged safety violations, including failing to remove damaged equipment from service and train employees on safety procedures. The company faces proposed penalties of $55,000.

The two repeat citations, with proposed penalties of $50,000, include failing to ensure that damaged and defective fall protection equipment was removed from service, and failing to remove powered industrial vehicles from service when defects were found. The Home Depot was cited for the same violations in 2007 and 2008 in Rochester, N.Y., and Chicago, respectively, according to OSHA.

The serious violation, which carries a $5,000 penalty, was issued for failing to maintain capacity plates on powered industrial vehicles. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The Home Depot has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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Unemployment rate slips to 9.2%

BY HBSDealer Staff

A disappointing report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning showed the nation’s unemployment rate slipped to 9.2% in June, up from 9.1% in May.

Only 18,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added in June, according to the Employment Situation summary, released Friday morning.

Construction employment, which fell sharply during the 2007-to-2009 period, was "essentially unchanged" in June. It has shown little change since early 2010, the report said.

Since March, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 545,000, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.4 percentage points.

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WD-40 posts mixed results in third quarter

BY HBSDealer Staff

San Diego-based WD-40 Co. posted third-quarter net sales of $85.5 million, an increase of 4% compared with the same quarter last year. Net income, however, slipped 12% to $8.1 million for the quarter ended May 31.

CEO Garry Ridge pointed to increases in commodity prices that have negatively impacted the company’s gross margin, which was 49.3% in the third quarter, compared with 51.2% in the same quarter last year.

"To help improve our margins, we are implementing price increases in some markets late this fiscal year, working to bring innovation to the market sooner, and focusing our marketing efforts on increasing product usage among our heavy users to pull more product off the shelf," Ridge said.

The company’s multi-purpose maintenance products — a group that includes the namesake WD-40 brand, as well as 3-IN-ONE and Blue Works brands — saw third-quarter sales increase 7% to $72.7 million. All other brands were down 12%.

Ridge said the company has high hopes for the development of the new WD-40 Specialist line targeting tradesmen and serious DIYers. The first three products in the line will begin shipping in the United States at the end of the fiscal year.

Increasingly, WD-40 is a global brand. "We continue to see our focus on global expansion pay off as we now have 60% of our total sales year-to-date outside the United States."

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