Dollar General Again Found in Violation of Federal Workplace Safety Standards
Dollar General has again been found in violation of federal workplace safety regulations for “willfully exposing” staff to fire hazards at a Pennsylvania store, the Department of Labor said Friday, reports CNBC. Investigators found “dangerous safety hazards,” including blocked emergency exit routes and electrical panels, at a Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania store during a November inspection that was sparked by a complaint made to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The hazards were similar to violations found at other stores operated by the discount retailer throughout the U.S., and the inspection is one of more than 180 investigations in which OSHA has found Dollar General to be jeopardizing worker safety, the DOL said. The discount retailer, which generated $37.84 billion in sales in fiscal 2022, was fined $245,544.
Total Retail's Take: Dollar General is in the news yet again for workplace safety violations. The company, which operates roughly 18,000 stores across the country and employs more than 150,000 workers, has been fined $15 million for safety violations since 2017 and “continues to defy federal workplace safety requirements” despite repeated penalties, according to OSHA. Just last week, OSHA said Dollar General was in settlement talks with federal regulators after the retailer was labeled a “severe violator” of workplace safety rules. Dollar General was the first company to be added to the “severe violators” list last fall after OSHA expanded the reach of one of its longstanding safety enforcement programs.
The fines are unlikely to have a major impact on the retailer’s balance sheet. Dollar General reported a net income of $2.41 billion in fiscal 2022. However, these investigations are creating an ongoing PR nightmare for the business as well as reputational damage. “Dollar General’s growing record of disregard for safety measures makes it abundantly clear that the company puts profit before people,” Atlanta OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer said in a January statement. In a March earnings call, Dollar General CEO Jeff Owen said the company plans to spend $100 million on store-level investments to fund more staffing in an effort to improve its in-store experience for customers. However, the discount chain may face challenges in hiring new store staff with so many worker safety violations now widely known by the public.
Discount and dollar stores are facing a slew of violations in recent years, with Dollar General joining Family Dollar and its parent company, Dollar Tree, for being in violation of workplace safety protocols.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.