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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and retailer Dollar Tree Inc. have reached a settlement agreement to resolve all outstanding safety and health citations, with the company set to pay $825,000 in penalties.
The corporatewide settlement requires the Chesapeake, Virginia-based company, which operates 2,400 stores under the brands Dollar Tree, Dollar Tree Canada, Deals and Family Dollar, to address safety hazards such as blocked emergency exits, obstructed access to exit routes and electrical equipment, and improper material storage, OSHA said Thursday in a statement.
The agreement resolves numerous contested citations and requires the company to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace safety program consistent with OSHA's safety and health program management guidelines, according to the agency. Dollar Tree also agreed to publish a corporate newsletter covering safety and health issues.
The company will allow a third party to audit 50 company stores during the two-year agreement, with the monitor sharing findings and recommendations with store managers who must correct identified issues within 21 days, according to the agency. Dollar Tree will also internally inspect stores for three years, encourage employees to use a new toll-free number for anonymously reporting safety and health issues and work with OSHA to monitor implementation of the agreement.
Dollar Tree will institute control measures such as prohibiting the stacking or storing of materials or equipment in a way that would block or obstruct access to emergency exits and electrical equipment and requiring routes to emergency exits and electrical equipment be at least 28 inches wide, according to the statement.
“This settlement agreement demonstrates Dollar Tree's commitment to improve training, safety procedures and working conditions at its stores nationwide,” David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in a statement. “OSHA looks forward to working cooperatively with the company to ensure that these changes better protect the safety and health of Dollar Tree's employees.”
A company spokesperson declined to comment.
Home décor retailer Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. is contesting another significant fine from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for ongoing workplace safety violations.