National discount retailer faces another $254K in fines for workplace safety failures
Soon after federal workplace safety inspectors arrived at a Dollar Tree store in Mount Pleasant, Texas, they found the national discount retailer again shortchanging employee safety – continuing a pattern of disregard dating back to 2017 – by allowing storeroom merchandise to block exits and walkways and stacking boxes high enough to fall on workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to Dollar Tree Inc. for three repeat violations and proposed $254,478 in penalties for the company’s latest workplace safety infractions. On Sept. 7, 2022, OSHA opened an inspection at the Mount Pleasant store and found blocked exit routes that exposed employees to fire hazards. They also discovered boxes stacked at unstable heights with the potential to seriously injure workers.
The inspection also noted the company failed to keep passageways, storerooms, service rooms 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,” explained OSHA Regional Administrator Eric S. Harbin in Dallas. “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.”
Since 2017, federal and state OSHA programs identified more than 300 violations in more than 500 inspections at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores operated by Dollar Tree Inc., based in Chesapeake, Virginia. Blocked exit routes, unsafe working areas and unsafely stacked boxes and merchandise are all-too-commonly found by workplace safety inspectors.
One of the nation’s largest retail discount chains, Dollar Tree Inc. operates more than 16,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations in 48 states and five Canadian provinces. The company also has a nationwide logistics network and has more than 193,000 employees. The publicly traded company reported a gross profit of $7.7 billion in 2021.
Dollar Tree Inc. 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.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor