Dollar General faces $1.2 million fine for ‘risking employees’ lives,’ feds say

·2 min read
Sue Ogrocki/AP

Dollar General faces a fine of more than $1.2 million dollars after the company was “risking employees’ lives” at three stores in Georgia, federal labor officials say.

Safety violations include workers being exposed to “fire and entrapment hazards” with blocked store exits and electrical panels that were not easily accessible at the Dollar General locations in Hogansville, Pembroke and Smyrna, according to an Aug. 15 Department of Labor news release.

Additionally, employees were at risk of slipping and falling, due to unclean store areas, and getting hit with unsafely stacked boxes of merchandise, Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections in February and March found, the release says.

A company spokesperson told McClatchy News in a statement that “following these inspections, we took immediate action to address issues and reiterated our safety expectations with store teams.”

This is the third time OSHA has proposed penalties against Dollar General for safety violations within the past year, according to the agency.

In February, OSHA proposed a roughly $1 million fine for “similar hazards” at three Dollar General stores in Mobile, Alabama, and one in Dalton, Georgia, the Labor Department says. In December, OSHA proposed more than $300,000 in penalties in connection with another store in Mobile.

“Dollar General continues to demonstrate a willful pattern of ignoring hazardous working conditions and a disregard for the well-being of its employees,”OSHA Assistant Secretary Doug Parker said in a statement.

The company has 15 days after receiving a notice of the penalties to pay the nearly $1.3 million dollar fine, request an informal meeting with an OSHA regional official or contest the findings of the agency’s inspection, the release says.

To date, OSHA has proposed more than $6.5 million in penalties for Dollar General since 2017, according to the Labor Department.

“Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices,” Parker said.

The company spokesperson’s statement said “the safety of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to us, and we will continue to work cooperatively with OSHA.”

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