Enforcement and Inspection, Personnel Safety

Dollar General OSHA Fines Top $3.6 Million

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Dollar General more than $3.6 million after conducting 55 inspections at Dollar General stores nationwide.

On February 23, the agency proposed $683,680 in penalties for violations cited at 3 Mobile, Alabama, locations and $364,629 in penalties following an inspection of a Dalton, Georgia, store.

“Dollar General’s long and extensive history of workplace safety violations and repeated failures to protect its workers shows willful recklessness,” Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s Atlanta regional administrator, said in a statement.

“Their blatant and continued disregard for the safety of their employees must come to an end. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will make every effort to hold them accountable for their failures.”

At the three Mobile stores, OSHA inspectors identified five willful violations for failing to keep receiving areas clean and orderly and stacking materials in an unsafe manner—hazards that expose workers to being struck by objects and slips, trips, and falls.

Inspectors found similar violations at the Dalton store during an August 2021 inspection and issued citations for one repeat and two willful violations.

Dolgencorp LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dollar General Corp., is based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, according to OSHA, and operates 17 distribution centers and about 17,000 stores around the nation, employing more than 150,000 workers.

According to the agency, OSHA inspections of Dollar General’s stores consistently reveal employee exposure to hazards such as obstructed exit routes, unstable stacking, and blocked working spaces around electrical panels—violations that represent hazardous and unsafe conditions and place workers at risk of injury.

OSHA’s retail enforcement

OSHA cited another Mobile Dollar General store in December for 3 repeat violations, with proposed penalties totaling $321,827. At that store, Dolgencorp LLC failed to keep the main storeroom orderly to allow safe exit during an emergency, exposed workers to slip and trip hazards and being struck by falling boxes, and prevented access to electrical panels, according to the agency.

OSHA has also repeatedly inspected, cited, and fined Dollar Tree Stores, one of Dollar General’s competitors; the agency has inspected Dollar Tree locations more than 300 times since 2016.

Over a 5-year period, OSHA inspections of Dollar Tree locations have resulted in proposed penalties of more than $9.3 million.

The agency has also cited Target Corporation locations for blocked exit access and storage hazards. In October 2020, Target agreed to pay $464,750 in penalties to resolve a series of 8 cases before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA had cited 8 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.

While Target Corp. initially contested the citations before the review commission, the company agreed to pay reduced penalties and implement enhanced safety measures to abate egress and storage hazards at Target stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York over the next 2 years.

Exit route access has been a foundational safety issue since the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.