OSHA has cited North American discount chain Dollar Tree Stores Inc. for the second time in Delaware since late 2013 by OSHA after inspectors saw an employee struck by falling boxes during a visit to its New Castle store in June 2014. For willfully and repeatedly exposing workers to serious hazards there, OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $103,000.
The incident is the latest on a long list of violations for which Dollar Tree Stores, headquartered in Chesapeake, Va., has been cited. As of October 2014, OSHA has issued more than $800,000 in fines to Dollar Tree Stores for the same or similar violations. In October 2013, three employees were injured at a Wilmington store by falling boxes.
“The continued complaints and subsequent OSHA inspections demonstrate Dollar Tree’s disregard for worker safety. The company has not addressed hazards we see repeatedly nationwide. Dollar Tree continues to make sizable profits at the expense of exposing workers to serious injuries,” said Erin G. Patterson, OSHA’s area director in Wilmington.
Since 2009, OSHA has received complaints from Dollar Tree employees in 26 states and has cited the company for 234 safety violations. These violations include willful violations found during 2014 inspections in Delaware, Massachusetts and Montana. Dollar Tree employs approximately 87,400 full-time and part-time workers at more than 5,200 discount stores across the U.S. and Canada.
During the recent Delaware inspection, OSHA inspectors saw overhead boxes fall on an employee and cited Dollar Tree for one willful violation for improperly stored boxes. The violation carries a $70,000 penalty. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
In addition, one repeated violation, with a penalty of $33,000, was cited for failure to keep the work area around electrical panels clear. A repeated violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.