Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., the operator of discount retailers Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, has entered into a settlement agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency announced August 23.
OSHA has frequently cited Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, as well as competitor Dollar General, for safety violations, most often including blocked electrical panels, exit routes, or fire extinguishers and improperly stacked boxes of merchandise.
Under the settlement agreement, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar will conduct a comprehensive, nationwide assessment of the root causes of the violations OSHA has cited at multiple locations, with a plan to identify causes and make operational changes to correct them within a 2-year period.
In the meantime, to ensure prompt abatement of any further violations related to blocked exits, access to fire extinguishers and electrical panels, and improper material storage at stores nationwide, the companies must correct hazards within 48 hours of OSHA notifying them. The companies then must submit proof that the hazards were corrected.
If the employer fails to do so, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are subject to monetary assessments of $100,000 per day of violation, up to $500,000, as well as OSHA inspection and enforcement actions.
The companies also agreed to pay $1.35 million in penalties to settle existing contested and open inspections of similar alleged violations.
“This agreement focuses on improving working conditions at thousands of stores nationwide,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in an agency statement. “Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have agreed to significant investments to more effectively identify and correct the root causes of the hazards most commonly found during OSHA inspections, including blocked exits and unstable stacking of materials.”
Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda added, “By creating incentives for companies to implement systemic solutions nationwide, the Department of Labor has created a pathway to ensuring more workers are safe and protected when they’re at work.”
The corporatewide settlement agreement covers all Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores within federal OSHA jurisdiction. As part of the agreement, which was entered into on August 17 and may last up to 2 years, the company will:
- Form safety advisory groups with extensive employee representation.
- Enhance hazard identification and control programs.
- Maintain a 24-hour hotline to receive safety complaints, and establish a tracking system to ensure complaints are addressed.
- Develop an audit program.
- Create a new employee training program.
- Hire additional safety professionals.
- Hold quarterly meetings between OSHA and its Dollar Tree and Family Dollar operations to discuss progress toward systemic improvements.
Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., first signed a corporatewide settlement agreement with OSHA in 2015, which expired in 2018.
Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree operates more than 16,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores in 48 states and Canada, according to OSHA, and is one of the nation’s largest chains of discount retail locations as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores. The company also maintains a nationwide logistics network and employs more than 193,000 people.
OSHA reached a settlement agreement with the Target Corporation in 2020, resolving violations that included blocked or obstructed access to emergency exits and fire exit routes and/or unsafe storage of materials in stores’ backrooms and storage areas at Target stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.