Less than one month after the U.S. Department of Labor cited Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC with more than $1.6 million in penalties for putting its workers’ safety at risk, federal inspectors have issued citations for similar violations at store locations in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and added $2,777,640 in proposed penalties now owed by one of the nation’s largest discount retailers.
Since 2017, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC have received more than $12.3 million in initial penalties for numerous willful, repeat and serious workplace safety violations. During the past five years, OSHA found unsafe conditions that expose workers to the possibility of being struck by falling boxes of merchandise or trapped or unable to exit the store safely in an emergency in more than 180 inspections at Dollar General stores nationwide.
Seven inspections by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration from April 28 through June 3, 2022 – in Clay, Dothan, Odenville and Town Creek, Alabama; Darien and West Point, Georgia; and Panama City Beach, Florida – identified 31 violations similar to those found at other Dollar General stores where litigation is pending. Violations issued as the result of the inspections have qualified Dollar General Corp. for inclusion in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“Dollar General has shown a pattern of alarmingly willful disregard for federal safety standards, choosing to place profits over their employees’ safety and well-being,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Neighborhood stores exist to support the needs of their communities – the same communities in which many Dollar General employees live – and that support must include following laws designed to keep workers safe from preventable injuries or worse.”
Specifically, OSHA inspectors cited Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC for 11 willful, 16 repeat and four serious violations at the seven Southeast locations. In addition to the struck-by and blocked exit hazards, OSHA cited the company for:
- Failing to label, mount, or make fire extinguishers accessible.
- Storing boxes in front of electrical panels, increasing the risk of fire and electrical hazards.
- Failing to use exit signs to facilitate safe egress in the event of an emergency.
- Exposing workers to electrocution by not keeping unused openings in electrical cabinets closed.
- Not providing handrails on stairs where required.
The violations found in these recent inspections mirror those OSHA has found at Dollar General locations across the nation.
In October 2022, inspections at four locations in Alabama, Florida and Georgia uncovered numerous hazards, leading OSHA to propose $1,682,302 in penalties. In August 2022, after inspections at three other Georgia locations, OSHA proposed $1,292,783 in penalties for exposing workers to fire, electrical, and entrapment hazards by failing to keep exit routes and electrical panels unobstructed. In February 2022, OSHA proposed $1,048,309 in penalties after inspections at three other Mobile locations and one in Dalton, Georgia, found similar hazards.
In December 2021, an inspection in Mobile led OSHA to propose $321,827 in penalties for exposing workers to slip and trip hazards, and not keeping the main storeroom orderly to allow a safe exit in an emergency.
Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operates about 18,000 stores and 17 distribution centers in 47 states and employs more than 150,000 workers.
Dollar General 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.