When federal workplace safety inspectors visited three Dollar General stores in Georgia earlier this year, they found exit routes obstructed, boxes of merchandise stacked unsafely and electrical panels hard to access, violations often cited at Dollar General locations.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed more than $6.5 million in penalties after 78 inspections at Dollar General locations nationwide since 2017. OSHA said inspectors frequently find unsafe conditions that put workers at risk and that could lead to disaster for employees and customers in an emergency.
Inspections at Dollar General stores in Pembroke this February, and Hogansville and Smyrna in March identified four “willful and seven repeat violations.” Specifically, OSHA cited the company for failing to keep receiving areas clean and orderly, and for stacking materials in an unsafe manner. These hazards exposed workers to slips, trips and being struck by objects.
OSHA also issued citations for exposing workers to fire and entrapment hazards by failing to keep exit routes and electrical panels clear and unobstructed. As a result of the three latest inspections, OSHA has proposed $1.29 million in penalties.
“Dollar General continues to demonstrate a willful pattern of ignoring hazardous working conditions and a disregard for the well-being of its employees,” Doug Parker, assistant secretary for occupational safety and health, said. “Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices. OSHA will take all necessary enforcement actions and pursue all available remedies against Dollar General until it fixes the disconnect between its business model and worker safety.”
Dollar General’s pattern of disregarding worker safety was apparent at five other Southeast locations, according to the agency. In February, OSHA proposed $1.05 million in penalties after inspections at three locations in Mobile, Ala., and one in Dalton, Ga., found similar hazards. At another Mobile location, a December 2021 inspection led OSHA to propose $321,827 in penalties for exposing workers to slip and trip hazards and not keeping the main storeroom orderly to allow a safe exit during an emergency.
“Dollar General continues to make it obvious that profit means more to them than the safety of their employees,” Parker added. “The U.S. Department of Labor will make every effort to hold them accountable for their failures.”
Dollar General 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.