May 18, 2015
Dollar General ignores dangers of blocked emergency exits and
other serious hazards at Bear, Delaware, store; faces nearly $125K in fines
Leading discount retailer has 6-year history of OSHA violations
BEAR, Del. – Boxes and excess merchandise could be a matter of life or death for workers at a Dollar General store in Bear, where federal inspectors found emergency exits blocked, in violation of federal law.
The review by U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors was done in November 2014 at the store at 1679 Pulaski Highway, where four violations were found. Proposed penalties total $122,100.
The recent violations continue a six-year history of similar safety hazards found in more than 70 inspections of Dollar General Corp.'s stores nationwide. The company has received more than 40 citations since 2009. Many involved blocked emergency exits and electrical panels, and improperly maintained fire extinguishers.
"Again and again, our inspectors have found similar hazards at Dollar General stores, yet the company continues to put its employees at risk," said Erin Patterson, director of OSHA's Wilmington Area Office. "In a fire or emergency, every second counts. A blocked exit route can lead to tragedy. The company needs to address these serious issues immediately."
OSHA's inspection found one willful violation and other violations, including electrical panel and fire extinguisher hazards at the Bear store.
Based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., Dollar General is the nation's largest small-box discount retailer. It employs more than 11,000 employees and opened its 11,000th store in 2013. Founded in 1938, Dollar General is among the largest retailers of brands made by The Procter & Gamble Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp., Unilever, Kellogg Co., General Mills Inc. and Nabisco.
Dollar General has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings 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 Wilmington Area Office at 302-573-6518.
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.
# # #
Release Number: 15-939-PHI (osha 15-036)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).