September 7, 2016
VAN BUREN, Mo – In an emergency, a blocked exit can be the difference between life and death for employees and customer alike. Yet, Dollar General – one of the nation’s largest discount retailers – continues to ignore federal workplace safety inspectors who have found repeated instances where the company allows stacked merchandise to block exit routes.
Responding to a complaint, U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors again found blocked exits and other hazards, this time on Aug. 4, 2016, at the company’s store in Van Buren. As a result, the agency issued one repeated, one serious citation and one other-than-serious safety citation on Sept. 1, 2016. The Van Buren store now faces proposed total penalties of $97,988.
Since 2010, OSHA has found more than 100 safety and health violations at Dollar General stores nationwide. Headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, the company 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.
“In an emergency, every second matters. Neither workers nor customers should have to fight through way through piles of merchandise to exit a building safely,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “As an organization, Dollar General must take responsibility to review its safety and health programs and fix these hazards at all of its stores nationwide now before tragedy strikes.”
View current citations here.
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 St. Louis Area Office at 314-425-4249.
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 http://www.osha.gov.