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February 27, 2023
Dollar Tree store facing $254K in OSHA fines

Dollar Tree Inc. faces $254,478 in new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines for three repeat violations at its Mount Pleasant, Texas, store, the agency announced February 23. OSHA inspectors reported finding that the employer allowed storeroom merchandise to block exits and walkways and had stacked boxes high enough to fall on workers.

Inspectors determined that blocked exit routes exposed employees to fire hazards, and boxes stacked at unstable heights had the potential to injure workers seriously. They also noted that the company failed to keep passageways, service rooms, storerooms, and walking-working surfaces clean, orderly, and sanitary.

“In the event of an emergency, workers and others must have fast and safe access to unblocked exit routes,” Eric S. Harbin, OSHA’s Dallas regional administrator, said in an agency statement. “Our inspectors found merchandise and other equipment blocking walkways and an emergency exit, this time in Mount Pleasant, Texas. Retailers like Dollar Tree that fail to make sure their stores’ storage areas are organized and safe are endangering everyone who works and shops there.”

Dollar Tree and its Family Dollar subsidiary have a long history of OSHA violations. According to the agency, federal and state OSHA inspectors have identified more than 300 violations since 2017 in more than 500 inspections at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores.

OSHA has cited Dollar Tree’s competitor, Dollar General, for similar violations—blocked electrical panels and emergency exits and boxes of merchandise stacked at unsafe heights.

Amazon cited for ergonomics hazards at Colorado warehouse

OSHA has cited for a serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause (§5(a)(1)) for exposing workers to ergonomics hazards at its Colorado Springs, Colorado, warehouse, the agency announced February 23. OSHA initiated an inspection on August 16, 2022, in response to an employee complaint of blocked fire exits and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) related to the warehouse’s processing speed. It proposed $15,625 in penalties.

“We continue to find that Amazon’s work processes are designed for speed, not safety, and that these processes cause serious injuries to workers,” Doug Parker, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in an agency statement. “Amazon needs to focus more of its passion for innovation and performance on eliminating the hazards that injure workers.” 

The Colorado Springs facility receives about 50,000 packages a day and processes 5,000–10,000 packages per hour, according to the agency.

OSHA has cited Amazon for exposing workers to MSD hazards at warehouses elsewhere in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, and New York.

The agency also issued a hazard alert letter to Amazon last April after six contractors were fatally injured and another severely injured when a tornado struck the company’s Edwardsville, Illinois, warehouse.

Amazon has actively supported research into MSD injury prevention. Last year, Amazon and the National Safety Council (NSC) launched an MSD Pledge that 100 organizations signed, making commitments to address workplace MSDs.

Amazon’s corporate contributions support the NSC’s MSD Solutions Lab, which released a white paper last year titled “Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Systematic Review of Current Interventions and Future Research Directions.”

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