Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 00-215
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2000
Contact: John Hall
PHONE: (205) 731-1534
OSHA FINES DOLLAR GENERAL $54,000 FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT ALABAMA WAREHOUSE
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Dollar General Corporation and proposed penalties totaling $54,000 for safety violations at the company's Tarrant City, Ala., warehouse.
According to John Hall, OSHA's Birmingham area director, $25,000 -- nearly half the fines resulting from the September inspection -- were assessed for violations the agency cited previously. The two repeat citations were: blocking the warehouse exit with stored materials and blocking the fire extinguisher so it was inaccessible in an emergency.
OSHA assessed another $29,000 for 16 serious violations. These included tripping hazards caused by cords in doorways and passages throughout the warehouse; electrical hazards due to the use of extension cords rather than permanent wiring; hazards associated with unsecured storage that could fall on and injure employees; potential asbestos exposure as a result of remodeling work in the warehouse; unsanitary conditions; improper water dispenser; an inadequate emergency action plan, and lack of a hazard communication program or training on how to deal with possible chemical spills.
Hall said, "This company has been cited before for hazards similar to two we cited today, each of which could cause serious injury or death." The area director explained, "Because the only exit from the warehouse was blocked, employees could be trapped inside if a fire were to break out. In addition, workers had no idea where the fire extinguisher was located or how to use it."
Hall added, "OSHA has particular concerns when an employer has been cited for a hazard in the past, yet fails to protect its workers from that hazard in the future."
A repeat violation occurs when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General employs about 5,000 workers nationwide. The retail and warehousing company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspections of the worksite were conducted by OSHA's area office located at Vestavia Village, 2047 Canyon Rd., Birmingham, Ala. 35216-1981; telephone: (205) 731-1534.