OSHA Fines Dollar General $1.3 Million over Safety Issues

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. August 22, 2022

​The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Dollar General approximately $1.3 million over workplace safety issues at three stores in Georgia. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Several Violations

OSHA found four willful violations and seven repeat violations at stores in Pembroke, Smyrna and Hogansville, Ga. Inspectors found exit routes obstructed, boxes of merchandise stacked unsafely and electrical panels hard to access, OSHA said.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Penalties in Last 12 Months

In February, OSHA proposed more than $1 million in penalties after inspections at three locations in Mobile, Ala., and one in Dalton, Ga., found similar hazards. At another Mobile location, a December 2021 inspection resulted in OSHA proposing $321,827 in penalties for exposing workers to trip hazards and not keeping the main storeroom orderly enough to allow a safe exit during an emergency.

(Footwear News)

Fines Since 2017

OSHA has proposed more than $6.5 million in fines against Dollar General since 2017 and said its inspectors have frequently found "unsafe conditions that put workers at risk." Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker stated in a release, "Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices."


Company Statement

"Following these inspections, we took immediate action to address issues and reiterated our safety expectations with store teams," Dollar General said in a statement following the most recent fine. "The safety of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to us, and we will continue to work cooperatively with OSHA."


Penalties Against Family Dollar

On Aug. 1, OSHA fined Family Dollar, owned by Dollar Tree—a competitor of Dollar General—$1.2 million in penalties for safety violations at two Ohio stores. OSHA found blocked exits, unstable stacks of goods, cluttered work areas and inaccessible electrical equipment and fire extinguishers. A representative for Dollar Tree did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Wide Range of OSHA Penalties

OSHA penalties for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act vary based on several factors and, in rare instances, may lead to Department of Justice or state prosecution for criminal liability.

"There's really no typical penalty because penalty assessment will differ based on statutory factors including gravity of hazard, good faith of employer, size of the business and history of violations," said John Ho, an attorney with Cozen O'Connor in New York City.

(SHRM Online)



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