Pointing to the workplace safety violations found at Dollar General stores over the last five years — and the most recent $2.77 million in proposed fines — the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA arm said the chain puts “profits over their employees safety and well-being.”
Also, Labor said, Dollar General now qualifies for the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. That means workplace safety citations can bring punitive actions that reach into the corporate offices and bring the federal courts into play.
This latest round of inspections, from April 28 through June 3, involved stores in Panama City Beach; Darien and West Point, Georgia; and Alabama stores in Clay, Dothan, Odenville and Town Creek. Of the citations OSHA felt were worth $2,777,640, 11 were willful violations, 16 repeat violations and four were serious violations.
OSHA defines a violation as willful when “the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”
Violations found at the above locations include:
▪ fire extinguishers not labeled, mounted or being available;
▪ boxes stored in front of electrical panels, creating a greater fire hazard;
▪ some staircases that needed handrails didn’t have them;
▪ unused openings in electrical cabinets not kept closed, creating an electrocution hazard.
Online records say Dollar General and Dolgencorp contested the citations in Panama City Beach and Dothan as they have previous citations, and haven’t responded yet to the other citations.
Total proposed OSHA fines for Dollar General since 2017: $12.3 million.
Just in the past year, OSHA inspectors say they found emergency exits locked at Dollar Generals; employees under threat of being hit by falling boxes of goods; and fire extinguishers not readily available.
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