‘Discounting safety’: OSHA fines Family Dollar $1.2 million for violations at 2 Ohio stores

One Maple Heights location faces $685,777 in penalities while a Columbus store will be fined $547,587, OHSA said
Family Dollar file photo
Family Dollar file photo(WALB)
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 8:47 PM EDT
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MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - OSHA stated Family Dollar stores in Ohio are “discounting safety” as the company continues its history of ignoring workplace safety and hazards - but now it may pay the price.

After repeatedly finding obstructed exits, fire extinguishers, electrical panels, and stacks of merchandise, OSHA said Dollar Tree Inc. faces $1.2 million in penalties at two Ohio Family Dollar stores - one in Maple Heights and the other in Columbus.

The announcement came down on Aug. 1.

OSHA said Dollar Tree Inc., parent company to Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, “continues to expose employees to the risk of injuries by flagrantly ignoring workplace safety regulations.”

According to OSHA, its state programs combined with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration have conducted more than 500 inspections at Family Dollar and Dollar Tree since 2017 and found more than 300 violations.

During these inspections, OSHA listed it routinely found:

  • exit routes, fire extinguishers, and electrical panels dangerously obstructed or blocked
  • unsafe walking-working surfaces
  • unstable stacks of merchandise

OSHA said it proposed penalties of $1,233,364 for multiple violations following the Ohio inspections.

“Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores have a long and disturbing history of putting profits above employee safety,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Time and time again, we find the same violations – blocked or obstructed emergency exits and aisles, boxes of merchandise stacked high or in front of electrical panels and fire extinguishers. Each hazard can lead to a tragedy.”

OSHA stated it initiated an inspection on Jan. 31 after an employee reported unsafe conditions at the Family Dollar store on Dunham Road in Maple Heights.

According to OSHA, it opened an inspection two weeks later on Feb. 10 when an employee complained of water leaking through the ceiling, causing wet floors and ceiling tiles to fall at the Lockbourne Road location in Columbus.

The agency proposed $547,587 in penalties for one serious and one repeat violation, and four willful violations, said OSHA.

OSHA stated it found the following hazards in both inspections:

  • obstructed egress
  • unstable stacks
  • inaccessible electrical equipment and fire extinguishers
  • trip and fall hazards caused by water, carts, boxes, trash and merchandise spread throughout walking-working surfaces in the retail areas and storerooms

According to OSHA, Dollar Tree Inc. has 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with each of OSHA’s area directors, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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