Dollar Tree was slapped with a $32,000 fine over a cluttered store, which Oregon safety officials said repeatedly endangered workers
OSHAfined Dollar Tree$32,000 for violations around a cluttered store.
- The OSHA body said in a statement that the store exposed "employees to serious physical harm."
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration slapped Dollar Tree with a $32,000 penalty after finding the company repeatedly endangered employees at one cluttered location.
In a statement released Wednesday, Oregon OSHA stated that the Dollar Tree in Wilsonville, Oregon, was "repeatedly exposing employees to potential serious injury from unsecured materials falling on them, tripping and falling in cramped aisles, and inaccessible fire extinguishers and emergency exits."
Dollar Tree and Oregon OSHA did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
According to OSHA's website, the investigation into the Wilsonville store began with an initial safety complaint on November 22, 2021. Oregon OSHA reported that the inspection ended in February 2022 and "included interviews, on-site walk-throughs and observations, and an examination of records, including internal company audits revealing workplace hazards left unaddressed."
According to Oregon OSHA, workplace hazards at the Wilsonville store included unstable boxes of merchandise, overly narrow aisles and walkways, a stockroom that saw merchandise and equipment blocking access to fire extinguishers and emergency exits, and a general "failure to keep written records of safety committee meetings for three years."
After conducting an investigation, the state OSHA body found five violations — including four repeat offenses, stemming from an earlier inspection on January 9, 2018 that saw three violations but incurred no fines — that they contended were "exposing employees to serious physical harm." Oregon OSHA issued a $32,000 fine against the Virginia-based dollar store chain.
Reviewing OSHA's website, Insider found that employees have filed 18 complaints against Dollar Tree within Oregon since January 1, 2017. Oregon OSHA also conducted five planned inspections, and three follow-up visits.
At the federal level, OSHA handles workplace health and safety complaints, and operates under the Department of Labor. A total of 25 states also run their own state-level workplace health and safety administration. Recently, OSHA has come under scrutiny for being underfunded, understaffed, and tasked with ensuring worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This isn't the first time that an OSHA governing body has tangled with a major dollar store chain. The administration slammed Dollar General in February for operating four stores with a "long history" of putting workers at risk.
"The workplace safety and health standards enforced by Oregon OSHA are there for a reason, so that employers have clear and time-tested steps to follow to keep workers out of harm's way," interim Oregon OSHA administrator Lou Savage said in a statement. "Failing to follow them is not an option. Repeatedly failing to follow them serves only one purpose: to deepen the risk of severe injury and suffering."
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