National discount retailer faces $770K in penalties after latest inspections
PROVIDENCE, RI – Dollar Tree Stores Inc.’s failure to provide safe work conditions at two Rhode Island stores – violations of U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards – exposed employees to serious risks and injuries.
The discount retail giant faces a total of $770,136 in proposed penalties for hazards related to obstructed exits, unsafe storage of materials, fire and other hazards at its East Providence and Pawtucket locations.
OSHA inspectors responded to complaints about unsafe conditions at the two stores and found employees exposed to these hazards:
- Blocked exits: Large piles of materials blocked access to emergency exits. Inspectors found access to an emergency exit completely blocked at the Pawtucket store.
- Unsafe storage of materials: Boxed merchandise stacked up to 7 feet high at both locations.
- Fire extinguishers: Storage room materials completely blocked access to fire extinguishers at the Pawtucket store.
- Compressed gas storage: Inspectors found helium compressed gas cylinders stored and labeled improperly in East Providence. The cylinders also lacked caps for valve protection.
OSHA cited the East Providence store for three repeat violations, with $319,220 in proposed fines, and the Pawtucket location for four repeat violations, with $450,916 in proposed fines. View the citations for the East Providence and Pawtucket
OSHA cited Dollar Tree previously for similar hazards at locations in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin.
“Providing employees with clearly recognized and legally required safeguards, such as unimpeded exit access, properly stored materials and readily available fire extinguishers, must be a priority for any employer and should not be ignored,” explained OSHA Area Director Robert Sestito in Providence, Rhode Island.
Since 2017, federal and state OSHA programs identified more than 300 violations in more than 500 inspections at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores operated by Dollar Tree Inc., based in Chesapeake, Virginia.
One of the nation’s largest retail discount chains, Dollar Tree Inc. operates more than 16,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations in 48 states and five Canadian provinces. The company also has a nationwide logistics network and has more than 193,000 employees. The publicly traded company reported a gross profit of $7.7 billion in 2021.
Dollar Tree Stores Inc. 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.