Repeat OSHA Violations at Dollar Tree Stores Cost Employer Thousands of Dollars

It’s going to take the sale of a lot of $1 items from Dollar Tree stores – 121,000 of them, in fact – to pay the company’s bill from OSHA for repeat violations of occupational safety and health regulations related to blocked fire exits and unsafe storage of items at its Trenton, N.J., location.

“These violations are often found at retail stores and can pose a serious risk to workers,” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany, N.J., area office. "It is imperative that Dollar Tree Stores evaluate all of its locations for these and other potential workplace hazards, and take the appropriate steps to protect workers.”

The Chesapeake, Va.-based retailer was cited for two repeat safety violations after OSHA opened an inspection in response to a complaint alleging blocked fire exits and the unsafe storage of items in stock. According to OSHA, the retailer permitted exit routes to be obstructed by boxes and product carts. OSHA previously cited Dollar Tree Stores for the same violation at its Bergenfield and Dover, N.J., locations in 2010 and 2008, respectively. The Trenton location also was cited for storing materials in an unsafe manner. OSHA cited this violation at the company's Commack, N.Y.; Watchung, N.J.; and Dover, N.J., locations in 2011, 2010 and 2008, respectively. Total fines are $121,000.

A repeat 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 5 years.

“The company can prevent these types of hazards by establishing an injury and illness prevention program in which it works with its employees to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

Dollar Tree Stores, which employs nine people at the Newark store, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with Hoffman or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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