The Virginia-based bargain store, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar, which they bought in 2015, recently settled with U.S. regulators on a deal to improve worker safety. The bargain stores have been under scrutiny recently for several citations of hazards in stores. The hazards range from things such as blocked exits, poor/unsafe storage of material, and incorrect access and storage of fire extinguishers and electric panels.
The agreement between Dollar Tree and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which has been the agency citing the low-priced stores, requires that the store finds the root of the problem causing the violations. The deal gives the chain two years to get to the root of the problem and correct it.
Since 2017, OSHA has issued 403 violation tickets to Dollar Tree and Family Dollar.
The stores have reached a total of $13.1 million in fines for all of the violations. In 2015, Dollar Tree made another settlement to improve working conditions, which they did at the time. However, the settlement ended in 2018, and since their conditions have gotten bad again.
The Assistant Labor Secretary, Doug Parker, made a statement calling the issues all “entirely preventable.” He noted how the responsibility is ultimately on the employers and the company to maintain employee safety. He noted how he and his agency understand that the improvements will not happen overnight. They ultimately want the stores to take the settlement seriously and start the journey towards actually bettering the working conditions.
The settlement covers all OSHA-covered Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores. This means the settlement applies to a total of 10,000 store locations across the country. With the settlement, the companies have to form and maintain a 24-hotline that will be available for all 10,000 stores in which they can report safety complaints. With this, they also have to instill anti-retaliation rules and requirements that all stores must follow.
Additionally, the settlement raised the price point for violations. If a report is made to OSHA regarding safety, the company has 48 hours to address the hazard. If they do not properly handle it, they are subject to a $100,000 fine per day.