Dollar Tree Stores Inc., a national discount retail chain, has been cited by U.S. safety regulators for ‘willfully and repeatedly exposing workers to serious hazards at its store in Watauga, Texas,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said. The agency proposes fines of $262,500 for violations it found at that particular store.
According to OSHA, Dollar Tree has been cited nationwide for safety and health violations more than 200 times since 2009. The agency began investigating the Watauga Dollar Tree location after receiving a complaint from an employee describing dangerous conditions.
OSHA inspectors at the Watauga store found two willful violations: one for failing to ensure exit doors were kept clear of obstacles and another for failing to ensure products were stored in a stable and secure manner. OSHA classifies a willful violation as one demonstrating a voluntary or intentional disregard for the law and indifference to the safety and health of its workers. The agency proposed fines of $130,500 for the violations.
OSHA also found four violations for which the store had been cited previously within the last five years. These included failing to keep passageways clean and clear, failing to secure compressed gas cylinders, and obstructing portable fire extinguisher and electrical panels. For these repeat violations, regulators proposed $132,000 in penalties.
“Allowing boxes weighing up to 45 pounds to be haphazardly stacked in the storage room exposes workers to crushing injuries,” said Jack Rector, OSHA’s area director in Fort Worth. “Failing to correct this violation and other hazards, including blocked exits, puts worker safety in jeopardy – and that is unacceptable.”
OSHA said that since 2009, it has received complaints from Dollar Tree employees in 26 states and has cited the company 234 times in that same time period for violating workplace safety laws.