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News Release

Dollar General store endangers workers by blocking exit routes with trash

Retail chain faces $163K in penalties

O’FALLON, Mo. – Federal safety inspectors found a 5-foot high, 15-foot long pile of trash between employees at a Missouri Dollar General store and an emergency exit, one of nine safety violations that put workers at the O’Fallon location at risk.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated its inspection after an employee alleged that upper management ignored repeated requests to remove the hazards. Since 2010, the agency has cited Dollar General for more than 100 safety and health violations at stores across the nation. The national discount retailer recorded sales of $18.9 billion in sales in fiscal 2014.

OSHA cited the O’Fallon store for two willful, six serious and one other-than-serious violations on Jan. 28, 2016. Proposed penalties total $163,000.

“Blocked exits can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Carelessly piling up trash and debris is also unsanitary,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area director in St. Louis. “Dollar General needs to immediately address hazards found in O’Fallon and at its stores nationwide.”

OSHA investigators also found:

  • Workers exposed to fall hazards because stairs lacked railings.
  • An exit sign posted at a door that was not an exit.
  • An unlit exit way and emergency exit lighting that did not work.
  • Circuit breakers were not labeled.
  • Electrical panels blocked by miscellaneous material.
  • Workers were not trained in fire extinguisher use.

View current citations here.

At a Dollar General store in Jennings, inspectors found exit doors blocked in May 2015, and cited the retailer for one repeated and one other-than-serious safety violation and proposed penalties of $28,050. Citations have been issued for similar violations at Dollar General stores in Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and Illinois.

Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General operates more than 12,000 stores in 43 states and employs about 100,000 workers. 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 St. Louis office at 314-425-4249.

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

Occupational Safety & Health Administration
February 1, 2016
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Media Contact: Scott Allen
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Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
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