Discounting safety: Dollar Tree’s history of ignoring workplace safety, hazards continues with $1.2M in penalties at two Family Dollar stores in Ohio

OSHA repeatedly find obstructed exits, fire extinguishers, electrical panels, stacks of merchandise

One of the nation’s largest discount retailers continues to expose employees to the risk of injuries by flagrantly ignoring workplace safety regulations, this time with hazardous conditions found at two Ohio locations, in Maple Heights and Columbus.

Since 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state OSHA programs have conducted more than 500 inspections at Family Dollar and Dollar Tree – operated by their parent company, Dollar Tree Inc. – and found more than 300 violations. During these inspections, OSHA routinely find exit routes, fire extinguishers and electrical panels dangerously obstructed or blocked; unsafe walking-working surfaces; and unstable stacks of merchandise.

Following the Ohio inspections, OSHA proposed penalties of $1,233,364 for multiple violations.

“Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores have a long and disturbing history of putting profits above employee safety,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Time and time again, we find the same violations – blocked or obstructed emergency exits and aisles, boxes of merchandise stacked high or in front of electrical panels and fire extinguishers. Each hazard can lead to a tragedy.”

On Jan. 31, 2022, OSHA initiated an inspection following an employee report of unsafe conditions at the Family Dollar store on Dunham Road in Maple Heights. The agency issued citations for one repeat violation and four willful violations, with proposed penalties of $685,777.

Two weeks later, OSHA opened an inspection on Feb. 10, 2022 in response to an employee complaint of water leaking through the ceiling causing wet floors and ceiling tiles on the floor at the Lockbourne Road store in Columbus. As a result, the agency proposed $547,587 in penalties for one serious and one report violation, and four willful violations.

In both inspections, OSHA found hazards related to, obstructed egress, unstable stacks, inaccessible electrical equipment and fire extinguishers, as well as trip and fall hazards caused by water, carts, boxes, trash and merchandise spread throughout walking-working surfaces in the retail areas and storerooms.

A Fortune 500 company, Dollar Tree has been a leading operator of discount variety stores in North America for more than 30 years. Headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia, the company operates more than 16,000 stores across the 48 contiguous states and five Canadian provinces, supported by a nationwide logistics network and more than 193,000 employees. The company’s stores operate under the Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Canada brands. Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar in 2015. In 2021, the company reported gross profit of $7.7 billion.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with each of OSHA’s area directors, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA.

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