Once again, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found exits blocked with merchandise at a store operated by Dollar General Corporation. In the latest instance, agency investigators found this and other hazards existed after an Aug. 4, 2016, inspection of the company’s store in Bolivar in central Ohio.
As a result, OSHA issued three repeated safety citations to Dollar General on Sept. 8, 2016, and assessed $156,772 in proposed fines to the Bolivar store. In addition to the recurring issue with blocked exits, inspectors found fire extinguisher locations not marked and rapid access to them blocked. They also found electrical panels blocked.
Since 2010, OSHA has recorded more than 100 safety and health violations at Dollar General stores nationwide, and assessed more than $1 million in proposed fines.
“In an emergency, no one should have to struggle to get out of a store safely, grab a fire extinguisher or shut down the power quickly, but these dangerous hazards are exactly what our inspectors found at the Dollar General store in Bolivar,” said Larry Johnson, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “Finding these conditions in one company location is bad enough, but Dollar General’s willingness to ignore its immediate responsibility to protect employees and shoppers in all of its stores is cause for real concern.”
Headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn., the company operates more than 12,500 stores in 43 states and employs about 100,000 workers. In fiscal 2015, the retailer recorded sales of $20.4 billion.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, 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) or the agency’s Columbus Area Office at Columbus at 614-469-5582.
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.