Dollar Tree, which is the company that operates thousands of Family Dollar stores in Rhode Island and around the country, has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor that will require it to pay $1.35 million in penalties for workplace safety violations. The DOL announced the settlement on Aug. 25. In December 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Dollar Tree for repeated violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and proposed $364,465 in penalties.
Dangerous working conditions
The penalties were proposed after OSHA inspectors discovered blocked fire extinguishers, emergency exits and electric panels in several Family Dollar stores. Inspectors also claimed that products in Family Dollar Stores were stacked in an unsafe manner. Citations were issued and penalties proposed because these were repeat violations that exposed Family Dollar workers to struck-by, entrapment and fire hazards. In a press release announcing the proposed penalties, OSHA accused Dollar Tree of placing profits over worker safety.
Dollar Tree settles with the DOL
The settlement Dollar Tree has reached with the DOL requires the discount retailer to address workplace safety issues within 48 hours of being notified about them. Failing to meet this requirement could lead to Dollar Tree being fined $100,000 every day until safety issues are remedied. Dollar Tree has also agreed to set up a safety hotline that will be monitored around the clock. The settlement should lead to safer working conditions for Family Dollar workers and shoppers and fewer workers’ compensation claims.
Workplace safety regulations
Stacking products in a safe manner and ensuring that exits, electric panels and fire extinguishers are unobstructed seem like fairly straightforward steps to take for a company that operates 16,476 stores and employs more than 200,000 workers. The fact that this was not done suggests Dollar Tree did not take workplace safety violations very seriously. The settlement the company has now reached with the DOL indicates that this is no longer the case.