Once again, federal workplace safety inspectors have found merchandise blocking emergency exits and stacked unsafely, this time at a Family Dollar store in Richmond Hill.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Dollar Tree Stores Inc. – operator of Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores – for exposing workers to fire, entrapment and struck-by hazards at the Richmond Hill location. OSHA found the company failed to keep exit routes clear of merchandise and boxes.
Inspectors also discovered compressed gas cylinders left unsecured and in danger of falling over, and unsafely stacked boxes of merchandise at risk of falling onto workers.
OSHA issued citations for four repeat violations and proposed $364,645 in penalties.
“Family Dollar and its parent company, Dollar Tree Stores Inc., continue to discount the safety of its employees and others for the sake of profits by unsafely storing merchandise,” said OSHA Acting Area Office Director Jerred Stevens in Savannah, Georgia. “Time and time again, we find the company overfilling its storerooms and allowing merchandise to block aisles and emergency exits. This has to stop before someone is seriously hurt or unable to exit safely in an emergency.”
The findings of the Richmond Hill inspection add to Dollar Tree’s lengthy history of workplace safety violations. Since 2017, federal and state OSHA programs have found more than 300 violations in more than 500 inspections at stores operated as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations. In 81 previous federal and state workplace safety inspections, the company’s Family Dollar stores received citations for 12 willful, 27 repeat, 53 serious and 15 other-than-serious violations for similar hazards found in Richmond Hill.
Founded in 1986, Dollar Tree Stores Inc. is a leading operator of more than 16,000 discount variety stores throughout North America in 48 states and five Canadian provinces. Headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia, the company is supported by a nationwide logistics network and has more than 193,000 employees. A publicly traded company, Dollar Tree Stores Inc. reported gross profits of $7.7 billion in 2021.
The employer 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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
This is a press release from OSHA.