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For the second time in less than two years, Dollar Tree Stores Inc. is facing fines for serious workplace safety violations at two of its stores, the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries announced Friday.
Regulators cited and fined the Chesapeake, Virginia-based employer $306,000 in penalties after inspections at the company’s Bonney Lake and Kelso stores in Washington found “willful” violations, the most severe, the department said in a statement.
Specifically, an inspector found the stores were knowingly exposing employees to workplace safety hazards, mostly related to stacked boxes and blocked exits.
A customer at the Bonney Lake store contacted L&I to express concerns for the store employees’ safety because boxes crowded and blocked pathways and emergency exit routes, the department reported. Many boxes were also stacked precariously and so high that they could easily have fallen on employees or even customers in some instances. The Kelso Dollar Tree store was cited for similar safety violations. Stores in Aberdeen and Chehalis, Washington, received the same citations in 2016, according to the department.
“We are seeing the same safety violations at Dollar Tree stores over and over again in Washington,” L&I Division of Occupational Safety and Health Assistant Director Anne Soiza said in the statement. “It’s concerning because this is a national problem as well. Employees, and sometimes customers, are being put at risk even though the fixes to these safety problems are simple.”
“We are committed to maintaining a safe workplace environment for our associates and have processes in place to support compliance with regulations,” a Dollar Tree spokesman said in an emailed statement.
Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree Inc. is facing $262,500 in fines from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration because of alleged safety violations at a Texas Dollar Tree store, and has received more than $800,000 in safety-related fines in the last five months, OSHA said in a statement Thursday.