Trouble at the DG: Discount chain again in hot water with the feds for safety violations

Published 7:08 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

They may be convenient for many Mississippi shoppers, but the neighborhood Dollar General could also be a dangerous place to shop. It can also sometimes be a safety hazard for the people going every day for work.

The Dollar General Corporation is known as what the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies as a “Severe Violator,” according to a Tuesday report from The New York Times. The company has been cited for safety violations and fined more than $15 million since 2017.

The most recent safety violation fine in Mississippi dates back to 2014, but several stores in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida caught inspectors’ attention over the past year. The Brooklyn store, just south of Hattiesburg, caused the corporation to be fined more than $51,000 after a customer complaint.

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“This is another example of a corporation not sharing safety information with all its employees. These violations have been cited previously in other Dollar General stores across the country,” Eugene Stewart, director of OSHA’s Jackson Area Office, said at the time. “The employer’s failure to protect workers from basic fire and electrical hazards is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately throughout the company.”

In the past 11 months, OSHA inspectors have found 19 stores in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia with dozens of similar examples.

OSHA inspectors found merchandise blocking exit routes in Double Springs, Alabama, a report from the U. S. Department of Labor confirms. They also found boxes and merchandise in unstable stacks. Repeat proposed penalties in this case totaled up to more than $205,000.

During 2022, inspections for Alabama stores in Clay, Dothan, Odenville, and Town Creek, along with one in Florida and two in Georgia, found 31 safety violations. Penalties totaled more than $2.7 million.

Another round of inspections in Grove Hill and Mobile, Alabama, in conjunction with a store in Florida and Georgia, ran up another $1.6 million tab for the company to pay.

This year, the company is responsible for another $1 million in fines for safety violations found in Mobile, Alabama, and Dalton, Georgia.

“Dollar General’s growing record of disregard for safety measures makes it abundantly clear that the company puts profit before people,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “These violations are preventable, and failing to prevent them shows a blatant disregard for the workers on whom they depend to keep their stores operating. OSHA continues to make every effort to hold Dollar General accountable for its failures.”

Based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General Corp. and Dolgencorp LLC operate about 18,000 stores and 17 distribution centers in 47 states and employ more than 150,000 workers.

Dollar General has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To report a violation for any workplace, click here.