Federal safety inspectors have again found blocked exits and other hazards at stores operated by national discount retailer, Dollar General - this time in Wichita and Clay Center.
Since 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found more than 100 safety and health violations at the company stores nationwide. Based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., Dollar General operates more than 12,000 stores in 43 states and employs about 100,000 workers. In fiscal 2015, the retailer recorded sales of $20.4 billion.
On July 29, OSHA proposed total penalties of $105,600 to DG Retail LLC, operating as Dollar General, for violations at the two Kansas stores.
“In an emergency, blocked exits can be the difference between life and death. Piling up merchandise and blocking exit routes puts workers - and customers - at risk,” said Judy Freeman, OSHA’s area director in Wichita. “Dollar General has been cited repeatedly for these hazards at its stores nationwide. The company must immediately address these hazards before tragedy strikes.”
In Wichita, an inspector found blocked exit routes and materials stored near electrical panels on March 22. The hazards expose workers to fire and electrical hazards. OSHA cited the store for two repeated violations with proposed penalties of $88,000.
On June 29, an inspection at the Clay Center store found five serious violations and one other-than-serious violation and proposed penalties of $17,600. In that inspection, the agency found workers exposed to electrical, fall and trip hazards.
OSHA has issued citations for similar violations at Dollar General stores in Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and Illinois.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Wichita office at 316-269-6644.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit osha.gov.