WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Dollar Tree Stores Inc. have reached an agreement that settles all safety and health citations issued against the company.
The corporate-wide settlement implements safeguards to protect workers at Dollar Tree stores nationwide from hazards related to blocked emergency exits, obstructed access to exit routes and electrical equipment and improper material storage. The settlement agreement resolves numerous contested citations, and includes an agreement by the company to pay $825,000 in penalties arising from 13 different inspections.
"This settlement agreement demonstrates Dollar Tree's commitment to improve training, safety procedures and working conditions at its stores nationwide," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "OSHA looks forward to working cooperatively with the company to ensure that these changes better protect the safety and health of Dollar Tree's employees."
The agreement requires the Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree to develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program consistent with OSHA's Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. Dollar Tree operates stores nationwide, including 2,400 stores included in this agreement. The company's program will incorporate management commitment, employee participation, hazard identification and control, education and training for employees and multi-level managers, and program evaluation. Dollar Tree also agreed to publish a corporate newsletter covering safety and health issues.
Additionally, Dollar Tree has agreed to do the following:
- Allow a third-party monitor to audit 50 company stores during the two-year agreement. The monitor will share findings and recommendations with store managers, who then must correct identified issues within 21 days
- Internally inspect a cross section of its stores during the two-year agreement, plus an additional year
- Encourage employees to use a new, toll-free number for anonymously reporting safety and health issues
- Work together with OSHA to monitor implementation of the agreement, including periodic progress reports and monitoring inspections to ensure terms are being met
In addition to monitoring safety practices and implementing the safety and health management program, the company will institute several engineering and administrative control measures at its retail stores, including:
- Prohibiting the stacking or storing of materials or equipment in a way that would block or obstruct access to emergency exits and electrical equipment
- Implementing procedures in which managers at different levels can request storage containers to store items in a way that allows free access to emergency exits and electrical equipment
- Requiring routes to emergency exits and electrical equipment be at least 28 inches wide
- Reviewing delivery, unloading and personnel systems to ensure placement of received merchandise and materials in designated storage or sales areas does not obstruct access to exits and electrical equipment, or create storage hazards
"This resolution with Dollar Tree expresses the U.S. Department of Labor's commitment to seek and obtain compliance with the worker safety and health laws we enforce at all locations of a multi-establishment enterprise," said Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith. "The result achieved here benefits both the company and its workers across the country."
Negotiations by Labor Department attorneys in the Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver, and Boston Regional Solicitor's offices, and OSHA's Director of Enforcement Programs, with assistance from the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Solicitor's Office in Washington produced the settlement.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye, the public may call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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 www.osha.gov.