Dollar General has an OSHA problem
Dollar General has emerged as one of the fastest growing retailers in the U.S. But as it has expanded its footprint, it has at times run afoul of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA recently fined two Dollar General stores, one in Mobile, AL, and one in Dalton, GA, for hazardous work conditions, according to Insurance Journal. The federal agency has cited the chain for similar complaints 55 times since 2016, with fines adding up to $3.6 million.
The list of violations from the most recent round of inspections, similar to previous ones, includes blocked exits and blocked electrical panels. In a statement, OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer said that the chain has a “long and extensive history of workplace safety violations” and “blatant and continued disregard for the safety of their employees.”
Dollar General management told Business Insider in response to the most recent inspections, it “took immediate action to address these issues and reiterated [its] expectations with these store teams.” The statement continued, “The safety of our employees is of paramount importance to us, and we take issue with any statement to the contrary. We will continue to work cooperatively with OSHA to resolve these matters.”
Dollar General’s alleged disregard for worker safety comes at a time when labor concerns are more a part of the public dialogue in the U.S. than at any time in recent memory.
Starbucks, REI and now even Amazon have begun facing efforts by workers to unionize, Business Insider reported. Other chains like Target and Costco have touted major pay increases to employees after decades of wage stagnation.
The OSHA fines also come at a time when business has been booming for Dollar General. Despite concerns about the short-term future of physical retail during the height of the pandemic, the chain continued its plans for a huge nationwide expansion. Dollar General’s number of store openings in 2021 was projected to make up about one-third of the total brick-and-mortar store openings in the country.
Dollar General also plans to have 1,000 of its new suburban woman-focused Popshelf stores in operation by 2025.
- Dollar General Cited for More Workplace Hazards – Insurance Journal
- OSHA says recent safety violations at 4 Dollar General stores illustrate the discount retailer’s ‘long history’ of endangering workers – Business Insider
- Workers behind the first union push at an Amazon retail store just sent management a list of demands, including a starting wage of $25 an hour – Business Insider
- Is now a good time for retailers to open new stores? – RetailWire
- Dollar General’s Popshelf expansion shifts into high gear – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are the number and types of issues found by OSHA at Dollar General common throughout retail or an outlier? What should Dollar General be doing to reduce such violations under law?