Dollar General Corp. and its parent, Dolgencorp LLC, face $3.4 million in new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines, the agency announced May 23. OSHA unveiled citations resulting from inspections at nine Dollar General locations in Maine, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Violations included blocked exit routes and electrical and fire hazards.
The agency has already proposed fines of more than $21 million since 2017 arising from 240 inspections conducted at Dollar General stores nationwide. OSHA also has added Dollar General and Dolgencorp to its severe violator enforcement program (SVEP), meaning they’re now subject to mandatory follow-up inspections.
OSHA inspections at nine Dollar General stores found aisles, electrical panels, emergency exits, and fire extinguishers blocked by stored merchandise and other materials and boxes stacked unsafely—conditions that expose employees to electrical, fire, struck-by, and other hazards, which is in violation of federal safety regulations.
“Dollar General continues to expose its employees to unsafe conditions at its stores across the nation,” Doug Parker, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in an agency statement. “As one of the nation’s largest retailers, the company must focus its attention on resolving these issues and making corporate-wide changes to protect the safety and well-being of the people they employ.”
Responding to a complaint about an Enfield, Maine, store, OSHA found rolling containers and boxes of products obstructing or completely blocking access to an emergency exit. The agency also found carts clogging aisles and preventing quick access to fire extinguishers and goods stacked unsafely up to 6 feet high in front of and around an electrical panel. Inspectors also noted the store had not visually inspected fire extinguishers at least monthly, as required. OSHA therefore cited the Enfield store with 5 repeat violations and proposed $321,419 in new penalties.
OSHA opened inspections at six North Dakota Dollar General stores after being alerted by state fire marshals concerned about hazards at four stores and receiving complaints regarding two other locations.
Inspectors found doors, electrical panels, exit routes, and fire extinguishers blocked and merchandise unsafely stacked. At a Minot, North Dakota, store, OSHA inspectors learned that at least six store employees suffered exposure to toxic vapors—three of whom sought medical treatment—after several chemical containers ruptured and their contents mixed. OSHA identified 32 violations at the 6 North Dakota stores in a 2-month period and proposed $2.5 million in penalties.
Inspectors at a Dollar General store in Kettering, Ohio, found electrical panels, exit routes, and fire extinguishers blocked by merchandise and other materials. The agency therefore issued citations for three repeat violations for fire and electrical hazards, with $270,116 in proposed penalties.
Responding to a complaint of unsafe working conditions at a Kewaunee, Wisconsin,
store, OSHA inspectors discovered electrical panels, exit routes, and fire extinguishers blocked by unsafely stacked merchandise and other materials. Citations were issued for four repeat and four willful violations for crushing hazards, fire extinguishers that were not inspected, conditions that would prevent employees from safely exiting the store in an emergency, and unsafe electrical cords. OSHA therefore proposed $367,216 in penalties.
In the past, OSHA has also cited Dollar General’s competitor, Dollar Tree Inc., operator of Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, for similar violations, including blocked doors, electrical panels, and exit routes, as well as unsafely stacked boxes.