Discount retail chain Dollar General has been hit, this week, with upwards of $1.3 million in worker safety violation fines. This comes after individual Department of Labor safety inspections at three of their Georgia locations: Hogansville, Pembroke, Smyrna.
In a recent statement, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said they found several violations in March, including (but not limited to, of course) obstructed exit routes, inaccessible electrical panels, and unsafely stacked merchandise. In total, federal inspectors indicated they found at least four willful violations, as well as seven repeat violations during these Georgia location visits.
With that, the Labor Department ordered the company to comply with its citation and penalty policies within 15 business days or request a meeting with OSHA. They can also simply contest the fines, though that appears unlikely.
In response, Dollar General’s statement insists, “Following these inspections, we took immediate action to address issues and reiterated our safety expectations with store teams. The safety of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to us, and we will continue to work cooperatively with OSHA.”
Of course, some may think this is nothing more than lip service. After all, this is not the first time Dollar General has been cited for safety concerns. As a matter of fact, in just the last five years, the US Department of Labor has issued more than $6.5 million in fines for various violations. Actually, as recently as February, the DoL proposed as much as $1 million in fines for similar violations in other Georgia stores as well as stores in Alabama. A few months prior, in December, the department issued another $321,827 in fines at a location in Mobile, AL.
With that in mind, Occupational Safety and Health Assistant Secretary Doug Parker explains, “Dollar General continues to demonstrate a willful pattern of ignoring hazardous working conditions and a disregard for the well-being of its employees. Despite similar citations and sizable penalties in more than 70 inspections, the company refuses to change its business practices.”