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Dollar General racks up more OSHA safety violations

Posted On: Feb. 2, 2016 12:00 AM CST

Federal regulators have once again cited Dollar General Corp. for workplace safety violations, this time at a Missouri store, and proposed $163,000 in penalties.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based discount retailer after inspectors found a 5-foot high by 15-foot long pile of trash between employees and an emergency exit at an O'Fallon, Missouri store, the agency said Monday in a statement.

OSHA initiated the inspection after an employee alleged that upper management ignored repeated requests to remove the hazards. It cited the store for two willful, six serious and one other-than-serious violation, including exposing workers to fall hazards, an incorrectly placed exit sign, and an unlit exit way and emergency exit lighting that did not work, according to the release.

Since 2010, the agency has cited Dollar General for more than 100 safety and health violations at stores across the nation. The company was cited in January for repeat violations at a Texas store for failing to keep the store aisles clean and clear and ensuring that portable fire extinguishers were mounted and accessible, and for a serious violation for failing to clearly mark an exit route — citations that carried proposed penalties of $162,800, according to OSHA.

“Blocked exits can be the difference between life and death in an emergency,” Bill McDonald, OSHA's area director in St. Louis, said in the statement. “Carelessly piling up trash and debris is also unsanitary. Dollar General needs to immediately address hazards found in O'Fallon and at its stores nationwide.”

“Dollar General is committed to providing a safe work environment for its employees and safe shopping experience for its customers,” the company said Tuesday in a statement. “As such, Dollar General employs a number of policies, procedures and training programs to continually educate store teams to promote and facilitate a safe and welcoming environment.”

The company is taking immediate actions to address and remedy the cited violations at the O'Fallon store and looks forward to constructive conversations with the local OSHA office to review the citations, according to the statement.

Dollar General is working with all store teams throughout the 43 states it serves to provide additional training on safety protocol measures to reinforce the company's safety policies and prevent any future violations, the company said.