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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited discount retailer Dollar General Corp. for ongoing workplace safety violations and proposed more than $113,000 in fines.
The citations were issued on Oct. 21 after an inspection of a Dollar General store in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, in which the agency responded to a complaint alleging hazards caused by a bolted and blocked exit and low light conditions for exits, according to an OSHA news release issued last week. The store was cited for having an unmarked and blocked exit and blocked aisles and for not having a readily accessible fire extinguisher, according to the citations.
Stores owned by the Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based company have been cited more than 40 times and inspected by the agency more than 70 times since 2009, usually because of blocked exits and electrical panels and improperly maintained fire extinguishers, according to the news release.
“Dollar General's negligence in protecting employees from these hazards — despite the number of times they have been brought to the company's attention — is completely unacceptable,” Kevin Kilp, OSHA's area director in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said in the statement. “It only takes one emergency for workers to get hurt or killed because of the company's deficient safety practices. Dollar General needs to take immediate action to prevent a tragic incident.”
Dollar General has taken immediate actions to address the situation at the Hamburg store and looks forward to constructive conversations with OSHA regarding the matter, the company said in a statement.
“Dollar General is committed to providing a safe work environment for its employees and safe shopping experience for its customers,” the company said in the statement. “The company employs a number of policies, procedures and training programs designed to ensure store managers and their teams understand the necessary steps to create and maintain a safe work and shopping environment.”
In September, the company was issued fines of $169,000 for safety hazards allegedly found at two of the retailer's West Virginia stores, according to OSHA.
“Dollar General will continue to work with its store teams to ensure that the company's expectations regarding employee and customer safety are clearly communicated, understood and implemented,” the company said in the statement.
Federal safety regulators may be following the footsteps of their labor relations counterparts in potentially holding corporate entities jointly responsible for workplace safety violations that occur at the franchise level.