April 21, 2015
Dollar Tree Store endangers workers again in Texas
Citation adds to penalties facing retail chain across the nation
HOUSTON – Piled boxes at dangerous heights and blocked exit routes were two of the hazards found at the Houston location of the national discount retailer Dollar Tree Stores Inc. The hazards, both of which led to repeated citations, were found during an investigation by U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors. OSHA proposed $116,200 in penalties for two repeated and four serious violations at the West Gray Street store. Across the nation, Dollar Tree Stores have been cited for more than 200 safety and health violations since 2009.
"It's too easy for workers to get crushed under haphazardly stacked boxes, or trapped when exits are blocked," said Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director in the Houston South office. "Hazards like these put worker safety in jeopardy, and failing to correct them is unacceptable."
OSHA's November 2014 inspection of the Houston store was prompted by a complaint that alleged blocked exits in the workplace. Two repeated violations, with a penalty of $103,000, were cited for failure to ensure that exit doors were kept clear and unobstructed and that boxes were stored securely. A repeated violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The four serious violations, with a penalty of $13,200, were for failing to clearly mark doorways along exit routes; failing to place valve protection caps on compressed helium cylinders; not training workers on fire extinguisher use; and not providing clear access to the breaker box. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
In the second half of 2014, OSHA cited Dollar Tree Stores nationwide for more than $900,000 in fines. The Watauga, Texas, store was cited in September 2014 for two willful and three repeated violations, with a penalty of $262,500.
View the citations at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/DollarTree_1008888_0420_15.pdf*.
Headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia, Dollar Tree Stores employ approximately 17,600 full-time and 69,800 part-time workers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area office, 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), the agency's Houston South office at 281-286-0583 or its Houston North office at 281-591-2438.
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: 15-586-DAL
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).
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