US Department of Labor finds fire, electrical, other hazards in inspections at two southeast Oklahoma Dollar General stores putting workers at risk
HARTSHORNE, OK – When federal workplace safety investigators opened inspections in December 2022 at two Dollar General stores in southeast Oklahoma, they found blocked exit routes and walkways exposing employees to fire hazards, the same types of violations investigators discovered in stores across the nation operated by the national discount retailer.
In addition to fire hazards, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered boxes of merchandise blocking walkways at Dollar General stores in Hartshorne and Wilburton that could prevent employees and others from evacuating the store quickly and safely in an emergency.
“Dollar General continues to ignore federal safety standards that would protect its employees and others in its stores,” said OSHA Area Director Stephen Kirby in Oklahoma City. “Our inspectors routinely identify hazards caused by poor housekeeping, unsafe storage and by walkways and exits blocked by merchandise. These conditions must be corrected before serious injuries or worse occur in an emergency.”
The Oklahoma findings are part of wide and continuing trend at the company’s stores. In 12 inspections in Alabama, Florida, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin from October through December 2022, OSHA cited Dollar General stores for dozens of violations, including many repeat violations and proposed nearly $4.5 million in penalties for these inspections.
Since 2017, OSHA has found violations in more than 240 inspections at U.S. stores operated by Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC and proposed more than $21 million in penalties.
In 2022, OSHA added to the company to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which concentrates resources on inspecting employers cited for willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations and for showing indifference to their legal obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operate about 18,000 stores and 17 distribution centers in 47 states and employ more than 150,000 workers.
Dollar General has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.