Discount retailer Dollar General faces over $1 million in new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines for violations at four stores in Florida and Georgia, the agency announced March 13.
OSHA inspected stores in Ocala, Florida, and Columbus, Georgia, finding repeat violations, including blocked exits and fire extinguishers, locked exit doors, and improperly stacked boxes.
“Dollar General is well aware of federal requirements, but they continue to ignore their legal responsibilities to protect their employees at stores throughout the nation,” Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s Atlanta regional administrator, said in an agency statement. “Exposing employees and others to these hazards can be dangerous, especially in an emergency.”
The agency opened inspections of stores in Ocala on 58th Avenue and Marion Oaks Manor, finding merchandise obstructing exit routes that exposed workers to fire and entrapment hazards. OSHA also discovered merchandise blocking fire extinguishers and an automatic sliding door that was disabled and locked. The agency cited the two stores for 5 repeat violations, proposing $710,974 in new penalties.
OSHA inspectors in Georgia also found workers exposed to fire and entrapment hazards due to a locked emergency exit door at Dollar General’s Victory Drive store in Columbus. They also noted boxes and merchandise stored in an unsafe manner, exposing workers to struck-by hazards. OSHA cited the store for 2 repeat violations, with $221,001 in proposed penalties.
At Dollar General’s store at 13th Avenue in Columbus, OSHA found boxes of merchandise, shopping carts, and other items blocking walkways, exposing employees to trip hazards. OSHA cited the store with 1 repeat violation and proposed a $98,219 penalty.
According to OSHA’s Region 4 office, the agency has issued citations at 23 Dollar General stores in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia in inspections from February 1, 2022, through January 31, 2023, with a total of nearly $7.5 million in penalties. OSHA has cited Dollar General Corp. and its parent, Dolgencorp, in more than 180 inspections nationwide since 2017 for numerous willful, repeat, and serious workplace safety violations related to unsafe conditions and issued more than $15 million in fines.
According to the agency, Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operate about 19,000 stores and 28 distribution centers in 47 states, employing more than 173,000 workers.
OSHA also has frequently cited Dollar General’s competitor, Dollar Tree Inc., operator of Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, for similar violations—blocked electrical panels, exits, and fire extinguishers and improperly stored merchandise. According to the agency, federal and state safety inspectors have identified more than 300 violations since 2017 in more than 500 inspections at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores.
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For example, federal OSHA recently cited Dollar Tree for three repeat violations at its Mount Pleasant, Texas, store, where inspectors reported the employer allowed storeroom merchandise to block exits and walkways and stacked boxes high enough to fall on workers.
“Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores have a long and disturbing history of putting profits above employee safety,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in an agency statement last August.