OSHA has cited Dollar General, the discount retailer, 52 times in the past five years. A store in Bowdon, GA, was the latest of the company’s locations to be penalized.
The Bowdon, GA, store was fined $69,000 for repeatedly exposing employees to fire hazards by blocking emergency exits and fire extinguishers with merchandise and carts. OSHA fined this exact Dollar General location in March 2015 for similar violations.
Overall, the store was hit with two repeat and one serious safety violation for:
- storing equipment and materials in a manner which created a hazard
- not keeping exit routes free and unobstructed, and
- not ensuring portable fire extinguishers were readily accessible.
OSHA details the violations in the Citation and Notification of Penalty letter. The agency said broken shopping carts blocked emergency exit doors and carts of merchandise blocked fire extinguishers.
According to the letter, OSHA has found the same violations at Dollar General stores in Wolcott, NY, Martinsburg, PA, and Brooklyn, MS, in the past two years.
Christi Griffin, OSHA’s area director in the Atlanta-West Office, said in a press release:
“Dollar General continues to expose workers to safety hazards previously identified at this location and found at other locations throughout the country. This is a clear indication that management is not sharing safety and health information throughout the corporation to protect employees.”
Last month, OSHA fined Dollar General $163,000 for hazards found at a store in O’Fallon, MO. Inspectors there discovered a 5-foot high, 15-foot long pile of trash blocking an emergency exit.
At the Missouri store, OSHA also found:
- circuit breakers that were not labeled
- electrical panels blocked by miscellaneous materials
- workers who were not trained in fire extinguisher use, and
- an unlit exit way and emergency exit lighting that did not work.
OSHA opened the investigation of the Missouri store after an employee alleged upper management repeatedly ignored requests to correct safety hazards.
Dollar General employs about 100,000 people and operates 12,000 stores in 43 states, according to OSHA.