Dollar General is being hit with nearly $1.3 million in fines for worker safety violations after visits by federal inspectors to three of its Georgia locations, the Department of Labor said Monday.
According to a statement by officials, when federal workplace safety inspectors visited three Dollar General stores in Georgia earlier this year, they found exit routes obstructed, boxes of merchandise stacked unsafely and electrical panels hard to access, violations often cited at Dollar General locations.
A February inspection at a Dollar General store in Pembroke, and separate March visits in Hogansville and Smyrna, identified four willful and seven repeat violations. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the company for failing to keep receiving areas clean and orderly and for stacking materials in an unsafe manner. These hazards exposed workers to slips, trips and being struck by objects. OSHA also issued citations for exposing workers to fire and entrapment hazards by failing to keep exit routes and electrical panels clear and unobstructed, the statement said.
As a result of the three latest inspections, OSHA has proposed $1,292,783 in penalties. Dollar General has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent occupational safety and health review commission, the Labor Department said.
“Dollar General continues to demonstrate a willful pattern of ignoring hazardous working conditions and a disregard for the well-being of its employees,” assistant secretary for occupational safety and health Doug Parker said in a statement. “Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices. OSHA will take all necessary enforcement actions and pursue all available remedies against Dollar General until it fixes the disconnect between its business model and worker safety.”
A spokesperson for Dollar General told FN in an email that following the inspections, the company “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.” the spokesperson said.
This isn’t the first time OSHA inspectors have fined Dollar General. The organization has proposed more than $6.5 million in penalties after 78 inspections at Dollar General locations nationwide, including more than $450,000 in penalties as a result of three inspections in Georgia, since 2017.
According to the Labor Department, Dollar General’s pattern of disregarding worker safety was apparent at five other Southeast locations. In Feb. 2022, OSHA proposed $1,048,309 in penalties after inspections at three locations in Mobile, Ala., and one in Dalton, Ga., found similar hazards. At another Mobile location, a Dec. 2021 inspection led OSHA to propose $321,827 in penalties for exposing workers to slip and trip hazards and not keeping the main storeroom orderly to allow a safe exit during an emergency.
“Dollar General continues to make it obvious that profit means more to them than the safety of their employees,” Parker added. “The U.S. Department of Labor will make every effort to hold them accountable for their failures.”
Based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., Dolgencorp LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dollar General Corp. and operates about 17,000 stores and 17 distribution centers around the nation and employs more than 150,000 workers.
This comes one week after 27 Dollar General locations, 19 Walmart stores, six Family Dollar stores and two Target stores were fined by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Standards Division over price scanning errors found during routine inspections.