The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Dollar General to pay approximately $1.3 million over workplace safety issues at three Georgia stores.
The news of these significant fines is a wake-up call for employers nationwide to ensure they are meeting all safety requirements.
The penalties were issued for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. These penalties are difficult to predict for companies because they vary based on the extent of the hazard, the size of the business, and any history of violations, among other factors. In rare situations, violations can lead to criminal prosecution.
OSHA issued the fines for four willful violations and seven repeat violations, including obstructed exit routes, unsafe stacking of boxes of items for sale, and difficult-to-access electrical panels.
In a statement, OSHA said that the agency’s inspectors have frequently found “unsafe conditions that put workers at risk.”
“Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in OSHA’s statement.
After the recent order of fines, Dollar General said in a statement: “Following these inspections, we took immediate action to address issues and reiterated our safety expectations with store teams. The safety of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to us, and we will continue to work cooperatively with OSHA.”
In further enforcement actions, OSHA also slapped fines on one of Dollar General’s competitors, Family Dollar, which is owned by Dollar Tree. The company must pay $1.2 million in penalties for safety violations at two Ohio stores, including unstable stacks of goods, blocked exits, inaccessible electrical equipment and fire extinguishers, and cluttered work areas.