Another report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that some Dollar General stores continue to expose workers to serious hazards and dangerous risks. This is despite OSHA’s previous citations against the retailer.
Back in December 2021, we blogged about OSHA citing an Alabama Dollar General store for serious, repeat safety violations. At the time, the national retailer had been labeled a repeat offender and owed $3.3 million in proposed penalties to OSHA that had accumulated over the prior five years.
The Alabama store was cited for:
- Failing to keep the store in a “clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition”
- Failing to keep the electrical panel area in the stockroom clear, which created a slip-and-trip hazard and fire and electrical hazards
- Failure to maintain safe stacking practices in the storeroom, which could allow workers to be injured by falling boxes or in slip-and-trip accidents
Now, a Dollar General store in Baldwin, Wisconsin, is facing serious citations. OSHA calls these violations “willful.” The problem in this case was that the emergency exits had been padlocked on the inside with a board and bike lock. This puts workers and customers at risk of death in a fire. The situation is so serious that fire officials ordered the store closed six times in 2021.
In addition to the fire exit citation, OSHA cited the store for blocking emergency routes, fire extinguishers and exits, and for failing to maintain adequate space around the electrical panels.
The problem could be nationwide in scope
“OSHA cites Dollar General stores frequently for exposing workers to serious hazards, including the use of locks at exits, which can be catastrophic in an emergency,” said a spokesperson for OSHA. “This company’s willingness to gamble with workers’ lives is disturbing and must stop before tragedy strikes.”
Dollar General operates over 18,000 locations in 46 states – about 610 of which are in Illinois.
Injured and disabled workers have legal claims
Whether you work at Dollar General, another retailer, or another employer entirely, you do not have to wait for OSHA to cite your employer in order to make a workers’ compensation claim. The process is completely separate. You are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits whenever you are injured or sickened at work. You don’t have to prove it was your employer’s fault.
If your injury or illness will result in total disability from work that will last for a year or more, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, as well.