The Department of Labor has hit Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC with $1.6 million in proposed penalties for not adhering to federal workplace safety standards at four stores in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
The company, which operates more than 18,000 Dollar General discount stores in 47 states, has received more than $9.6 million in total initial penalties since 2017.
In April, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted inspections at stores in Mobile and Grove Hill, Alabama; Dewy Rose, Georgia; and Tampa, Florida. Inspectors cited the company for four willful and 10 repeat violations for failing to keep receiving and storage areas clean and orderly, and stacking materials in an unsafe manner.
The OSHA citations also included exposing workers to fire and entrapment hazards by not keeping exit routes and electrical panels clear and unobstructed. The company was also cited for failing to mount and label fire extinguishers, and for having a locked exit door that required a key to open.
OSHA has conducted 182 inspections at Dollar General locations across the country since 2017. Agency inspectors often find unsafe conditions at these stores that put the safety of workers at risk if they need to quickly exit in an emergency, the Department of Labor said in a press release.
"Once again, our inspectors have found Dollar General stores ignoring federal safety standards and exposing their employees to hazardous working conditions in violation of the law," Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in the release. "We will use our full enforcement powers to hold Dollar General accountable for its ongoing pattern of behavior until they show that they take worker safety seriously."
The violations discovered during the April inspections are the same typically found by OSHA at Dollar General stores across the country, including those identified at five other stores in the Southeast in the last 11 months.
OSHA had proposed more than $321,000 in fines in December 2021 for exposing workers at a Mobile location to slip and trip hazards, and not keeping the main storeroom orderly to allow a safe exit in an emergency. In February, OSHA proposed more than $1 million in penalties following inspections at three other Mobile locations and one in Dalton, Georgia, that discovered similar hazards. Additionally, in August, OSHA proposed nearly $1.3 million in penalties after inspections at three other Georgia locations for exposing workers to fire and entrapment hazards by failing to keep exit routes and electrical panels clear and unobstructed.
The release said Dollar General has 15 business days from when it receives 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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees, the release said.
Dollar General did not respond to FOX Business' multiple requests for comment.