The exterior of a Dollar General supermarket is seen in Austin, Texas March 16, 2023.
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Dollar General was again found in violation of federal occupational safety and health regulations after “deliberately” exposing employees to fire hazards at a Pennsylvania store, the Labor Department said Friday.
Investigators found “dangerous safety hazards,” including blocked emergency exit routes and switchboards, at a Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania store during a November inspection prompted by a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The hazards were similar to violations found at the discount chain’s other stores across the United States, and the inspection is one of more than 180 investigations OSHA has found Dollar General endangered worker safety, the DOL said.
In response, a Dollar General spokesperson told CNBC that they “regularly review and refine our security programs and reinforce them through training, ongoing communication, recognition and accountability.”
“When we learn of situations where we have not lived up to this commitment, we work to address the issue in a timely manner and ensure that the company’s security expectations are clearly communicated, understood and implemented,” the spokesperson added .
The company, which operates approximately 18,000 stores across the country and employs more than 150,000 people, has been fined $15 million for safety violations since 2017 and despite repeated penalties “it continues to defy federal workplace safety regulations.” , the agency said.
“Exposing employees to these hazards can be dangerous, especially in an emergency,” said Mary Reynolds, OSHA’s area director, in a statement. Dollar General Corp. has a long history of the same violations and dangers found in stores across the United States. They must end their repeated failures to rectify these violations before an emergency becomes tragic.”
Just last week, OSHA said Dollar General was in settlement talks with federal agencies after it described the retailer as having a “serious violation” of workplace safety regulations. Dollar General became the first company to be added to the “serious violations” list last fall after OSHA expanded the scope of one of its long-standing safety enforcement programs.
For the troubles at the Pennsylvania store, OSHA has issued a subpoena for one willful violation and one repeat violation with proposed penalties of $245,544, but the fines are unlikely to have a major impact on the retailer’s balance sheet.
For fiscal 2022 ended February 3, Dollar General reported revenue of $37.84 billion and net income of $2.41 billion.
The company has 15 business days to either pay the fines, request an informal meeting with OSHA’s area director, or appeal the findings to the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.