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December 12, 2022
OSHA issues six-figure fines to Dollar Tree, Family Dollar

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., issuing a pair of six-figure fines, for violations at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations.

On December 1, the agency announced that federal workplace safety inspectors discovered a Matteson, Illinois, Dollar Tree store exposed workers to the risks of unsafely stored and stacked boxes of merchandise and blocked electrical panels. OSHA cited Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., with three repeat, serious violations and is seeking proposed penalties totaling $364,661.

Repeat violations found during the agency’s inspection included the following:

  • Wheeled carts, large boxes, and merchandise in the storeroom blocking walkways and work areas, creating slip, trip, fall, and fire hazards;
  • Unsecured and unstable freight stacked at heights exceeding 6 feet, putting workers at risk of being struck by falling boxes; and
  • Electrical panels obstructed by stacked merchandise, creating electrical and fire hazards.

“Dollar Tree continues to ignore hazards that put their workers and others at risk of injuries or worse,” James Martineck, OSHA’s Chicago south area director, said in an agency statement. “All too often, our inspectors find similar hazards at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores that discount employee safety for the sake of profits. The bottom line is, it has to stop before someone is seriously hurt or unable to safely exit in an emergency.”

On December 2, OSHA announced that agency inspectors found merchandise blocking emergency exits and stacked unsafely at a Richmond Hill, Georgia, Family Dollar store. The agency cited Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., which operates both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, with four repeat, serious violations, seeking penalties totaling $364,645.

OSHA inspectors also found compressed gas cylinders left unsecured and in danger of falling over and unsafely stacked boxes of merchandise at risk of falling onto workers.

In more than 500 inspections at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations since 2017, federal OSHA and state inspectors have found more than 300 violations, according to the agency. In 81 previous federal and state workplace safety inspections, the company’s Family Dollar stores have received citations for 12 willful, 27 repeat, 53 serious, and 15 other-than-serious violations similar to those found in the Richmond Hill store.

“Family Dollar and its parent company, Dollar Tree Stores Inc., continue to discount the safety of its employees and others for the sake of profits by unsafely storing merchandise,” Jerred Stevens, OSHA’s acting Savannah, Georgia, area office director, said in an agency statement. “Time and time again, we find the company overfilling its storerooms and allowing merchandise to block aisles and emergency exits.”

OSHA has frequently cited Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., and its discount retail competitor, Dollar General, for violations that include blocked or locked emergency exits, blocked electrical panels, improperly stacked cartons, and merchandise or carts blocking store aisles. The agency recently placed Dollar General in its severe violator enforcement program (SVEP).

OSHA also has taken enforcement action at Target stores, citing eight Target locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York between May and December 2019 for numerous violations involving blocked or obstructed access to emergency exits and fire exit routes and/or unsafe storage of materials in stores’ backrooms and storage areas. The company reached a settlement agreement with the agency to resolve citations before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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