Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 4


February 7, 2023

 

Everyday Danger: Dollar Tree again found blocking emergency exits as federal inspection in Alabama as history of unsafe operations continues

Dumpster, equipment illegally obstructing safe exits, merchandise stored unsafely

FLORENCE, AL – In a disturbing trend seen by federal workplace safety inspectors, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has again found one of the nation's largest retail discount chains allowing blocked exit routes and boxes to be stacked unsafely.

OSHA opened an inspection at a Dollar Tree store in Florence, Alabama, in July 2022 and found a dumpster, wheeled carts and a moveable conveyer belt blocking exit routes that exposed employees to fire hazards. Inspectors also identified struck-by hazards related to unsafe storage and stacking of boxes and merchandise. The agency issued citations for three repeat violations and proposed $171,886 in penalties for the company's latest workplace safety failures.

Since 2017, federal and state OSHA programs identified more than 300 violations in more than 500 inspections at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores operated by Dollar Tree Inc., based in Chesapeake, Virginia. Blocked exit routes, unsafe working areas and unsafely stacked boxes and merchandise are all-too-commonly found by workplace safety inspectors.

"In the event of a fire or other emergency, seconds matter. The inability of employees and others to exit a store quickly and safely could have very serious consequences," explained OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. "As is too often the case, OSHA inspectors found merchandise and other equipment blocking walkways and an emergency exit at a Dollar Tree store. The company's repeated and continued disregard for human safety suggests the company thinks profits matter more than people."

One of the nation's largest retail discount chains, Dollar Tree Inc. operates more than 16,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations in 48 states and five Canadian provinces. The company also has a nationwide logistics network and has more than 193,000 employees. The publicly traded company reported a gross profit of $7.7 billion in 2021.

Dollar Tree Inc. 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.

Learn more about OSHA.

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Media Contacts:

Eric R. Lucero, 678-237-0630, lucero.eric.r@dol.gov
Erika Ruthman, 678-237-0630, ruthman.erika.b@dol.gov

Release Number:  22-157-ATL