According to the Department of Labor, Dollar General has once more been found in breach of federal workplace safety laws for “willfully exposing” employees to fire hazards in a Pennsylvania shop.
During a November inspection prompted by an Occupational Safety and Health Administration complaint, investigators discovered “dangerous safety hazards” at a store in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, including electrical panels and blocked emergency exits.
The DOL stated that the inspection was one of more than 180 in which OSHA discovered Dollar General to be endangering worker safety. The hazards were comparable to those discovered at other locations run by the discounter around the U.S.
As a reaction, a spokeswoman for Dollar General told CNBC that the company “regularly reviews and improves our safety programs, and reinforces them through training, ongoing communication, recognition, and accountability.”
The spokesman continued, “When we learn of instances where we have fallen short of this promise, we endeavor to promptly resolve the problem and make sure that the company’s requirements on safety are clearly communicated, understood, and put into practice.
The business, which runs around 18,000 stores nationwide and has over 150,000 employees, has been fined $15 million for safety infractions since 2017 and “continues to defy federal workplace safety requirements” in spite of repeated sanctions, the agency claimed.
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According to OSHA Area Director Mary Reynolds, “Exposing employees to these hazards can be dangerous, especially in an emergency.” “Dollar General Corp. has a long history of the same violations and dangers discovered in stores across the United States. Before a crisis turns tragic, they need to stop failing to fix these violations repeatedly.
Just last week, OSHA reported that Dollar General and federal authorities were in settlement negotiations after the retailer was cited as a “serious violator” of workplace safety laws. When OSHA broadened the scope of one of its long-standing safety enforcement initiatives last fall, Dollar General was the first employer to be added to the list of “severe violators.”
OSHA filed a citation for one willful violation and one repeat violation related to the problems at the Pennsylvania store with a recommended penalty of $245,544, but it is unlikely that the penalties will have a significant effect on the balance sheet of the retailer.
Dollar General reported $37.84 billion in sales and $2.41 billion in net income for the fiscal year 2022, which ended on February 3.
The business has 15 working days in which to make a decision: pay the fines, ask for a casual meeting with the OSHA area director, or appeal the decision to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.