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Dollar Tree Stores Inc. has been issued a $503,200 citation — one of the largest fines assessed by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries — for repeat safety violations.
Department investigators issued the company multiple willful repeat serious violations for locked emergency exit routes, unsafe ladder use and improper stacking of merchandise, observed at the company’s Vancouver, Washington, store, said the Department of L&I in a news release. The violations continued even after the company was informed of the hazards by an inspector during earlier visits and instructed on how to avoid further violations, the department said.
The Chesapeake, Virginia-based company has a history of citations for safety violations in Washington. In 2018, the L&I issued $306,000 in penalties for blocked pathways and emergency exits at stores located in Bonney Lake and Kelso, Washington. Stores in Aberdeen and Chehalis, Washington, received a citation for the same violations in 2016.
The company has also been cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for violations. In 2015, Dollar Tree agreed to pay $825,000 in penalties to resolve outstanding safety and health citations from OSHA. The settlement also stipulated the retailer would hire a third party to audit 50 company stores over a two-year period and correct identified issues within 21 days.
"Even after multiple large fines, it appears this company has not gotten the message to ensure their safety and health system is working in every Washington store location," said Anne Soiza, assistant director at L&I. "This fine is one of the largest we’ve issued, and we will apply pressure to Dollar Tree.”
Dollar Tree has now been placed in L&I’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which means its stores are now subject to inspections at any time, among other things, according to the news release.
A spokesperson with L&I said the company will have an opportunity to appeal the citations.
Dollar Tree did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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.