January 23, 2023
Safety shelved: Federal safety inspectors again find Dollar General workersexposed to fire, other hazards – this time in West Lafayette, Ohio
One of nation's largest discount retailers has 100 open safety inspections nationwide
WEST LAFAYETTE, OH – Following yet another inspection – this time at a West Lafayette, Ohio, Dollar General location – federal investigators found one of the nation's largest discount retailers continues to shelve serious safety concerns that expose workers and others to the dangers of blocked emergency exits and electrical panels, and boxes of merchandise stacked at unsafe heights.
Since 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC, more than $15 million for numerous willful, repeat and serious workplace safety violations nationwide. OSHA has at least 100 federal safety inspections currently open at stores owned and operated by the Goodlettsville, Tennessee, company.
OSHA began a complaint inspection on Aug. 31, 2022, at the West Lafayette store and inspectors identified five repeated safety violations with proposed penalties of $395,717. Inspectors found the company exposing workers to the threats of being unable to exit the store safely in an emergency, such as a fire, and being struck by boxes of falling merchandise. Since 2017, OSHA has identified similar violations in more than 180 inspections at Dollar General stores across the country.
The retailer's chronic failures to meet federal safety requirements prompted the agency to include Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"Dollar General continues to intentionally ignore federal safety standards while the company's defiance shows they value profits more than the safety and wellbeing of employees," said OSHA Area Director Larry Johnson, in Columbus, Ohio. "Dollar General's unwillingness to make changes across its organization and, as importantly, at stores where hazards persist should be a serious concern for workers and shoppers alike."
The West Lafayette inspection led OSHA to cite the company for the following violations:
- Storing boxed material stocked more than 7 feet high on rolling containers throughout the retail area.
- Blocking exit routes and the south building exit with wheeled carts, boxes and bins.
- Allowing open bags of food, boxes and bins to be spread throughout the store.
- Obstructing access to fire extinguishers with a ladder, boxes and carts.
- Blocking access to electrical panels with boxes, bins and carts.
Headquartered in Tennessee, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operate more than 18,000 stores and 17 distribution centers in 47 states and employ about 167,000 full- and part-time employees.
Dollar General 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.
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 workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
# # #
Release Number: 23-96-CHI