CINCINNATI – Alerted by the concerns of the West Chester Township Fire Department in Ohio, workplace safety inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor discovered exit routes, doors and fire extinguishers blocked at a Dollar General store on Princeton Glendale Road in Cincinnati, the same kinds of dangers that have contributed to more than $15 million in proposed federal penalties for the discount retail chain since 2017.
“Fast access to fire extinguishers and exit doors and the routes to them are a matter of life and death in an emergency, and yet – despite millions in fines and safety violations at more than 180 locations – Dollar General continues to repeatedly ignore these conditions and risk the safety of their employees,” said OSHA Area Director Ken Montgomery in Cincinnati. “The company must change the way it operates and ensure that its store locations meet federal workplace safety standards before tragedy strikes.”
In September and November 2022, inspectors with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found exit routes throughout the store and a storeroom emergency exit and fire extinguishers blocked by stacks of merchandise and rolling containers. The unsafely stacked merchandise also exposed workers to the risk of being struck by falling boxes.
OSHA cited the store’s operator – DolGen Midwest LLC – for three repeated safety violations and proposed penalties of $254,478.
The findings and penalties continue the history of willful, repeat and serious workplace safety violations by parent companies, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC, identified in more than 180 inspections nationwide. Dollar General Corp. is included in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operate about 18,000 stores and 17 distribution centers in 47 states and employs more than 150,000 workers. Ranked #91 on the Fortune 100 list of companies in 2021, the publicly traded company reported $33.7 billion in sales in fiscal year 2020.
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.