HR News, OSHA, Texas

OSHA Fines Dollar General Location $162,800

Happy New Year to Dollar General, or NOT!

On December 31, 2015 OSHA fines to one Dollar General location is Sherman Texas totaled: $162,800.
Man, that DG location must have killed a worker to get a fine that big, right? NOPE! But, the chain in general has been on the repeat offender list for years. The fines this time are related to very common violations that can be found in many workplaces across America. So, read the details and ask yourself: Is my workplace OSHA compliant? Can I afford a fine of over $100,00?  Enjoy!

Dollar General Pays High PriceThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated the inspection on July 14,2015  in response to a complaint alleging workplace safety hazards at Dollar General’s Sherman, Texas, store. OSHA issued citations for one serious, two repeat, and two willful violations.

Dollar General was cited for two willful violations for failing to keep exit routes clear and unobstructed, and for failing to keep working space clear around the electrical panel. The company was also cited for two repeat violations for failing to keep the store aisles clean and clear, and ensuring that portable fire extinguishers were mounted and accessible. One serious violation was issued for failing to clearly mark an exit route. These careless acts resulted in fines totaling $162,800 – for one store.

“Dollar General stores nationwide have repeatedly been cited for exposing their workers to hazards posed by overstocking issues, while promising time and again to take corrective action, yet workers continue to be exposed to unnecessary hazards,” said Josh Bernstein, OSHA’s acting area director in Fort Worth, Texas. “It is the employer’s responsibility to find and fix these hazards and OSHA will continue to hold this employer accountable.” Remember, OSHA fines are not small.

Dollar General has 11,500 stores in 40 states, and employs about 90,000 workers nationwide, including eight workers at its Sherman location. OSHA has received complaints from Dollar General’s employees in 21 states since 2006, and has cited the company for 240 safety violations, including numerous willful and repeat violations during this same time period. The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the OSHA fines and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

You can read the citation details here:  http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Dollar_General_1077466.pdf*

Working as a third-party inspector/auditor, I have personally inspected multiple employers over the years for OSHA violations. I can guarantee that every business is violating one or more (usually more) OSHA standards. So, employers need to receive this DG example as a cautionary tale and learn the applicable lessons.

Lesson #1: Employees use the OSHA complaint hotline. (and rightfully so)
Lesson #2: Employers who seek to cheap-out on necessary provisions or just get lazy do so at the cost of their employee’s safety.
Lesson #3: OSHA is concerned with employers of all sizes and industries. (not just the obvious construction and manufacturing)Lesson #4: OSHA is committed to finding and fining employers who violate the mandatory standards.
Lesson #5: All employers must create and maintain Health and Safety Plans and Programs no matter the size or type of business.

All these lessons add up to 2 huge issues:
What do I need to do to be compliant AND How do I get my small business compliant on my shoestring budget?

I  am so glad you asked. Click here to find out how you can Be Audit-Secure with OSHA in your small business or medical/dental practice. Use our “7 Step Process to Peace of Mind” and sleep better knowing you have fulfilled your responsibilities under the law and are “taking care of the people”. Once you prepare your plans, conduct your mandatory annual training and perform your internal inspections you will be able to continuously identify issues as they arise and make the corrections on the spot. This way you will feel comfortable knowing what the auditor/inspector will find when they visit your location and you will Be Audit-Secure!

Until Next Time, Be Audit-Secure!

Lisa Smith



Lisa Smith is CEO of Andere Seminars, LLC and Chief Content Developer at BeAuditSecure.com.
Follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, listen to her Small Business Spoonfuls Podcast, and find more from her in Audit-Secure Assistant at BeAuditSecure.com.



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