When you think of BIG OSHA violations, you may think of dangerous operations, mining, agriculture grain silos, Alaska king crab fisherman, or some of the local stories on the street in automotive. You probably don’t think of a $1 value retailer as being a prime target for OSHA, but here’s why you should, especially if you operate multiple locations.
- In April, 2014, OSHA fined Dollar Tree Stores $143,000 for violations at their Wilmington, Delaware location.
- In June, 2014, OSHA fined Dollar Tree Stores $217,000 for violations at their Missoula, Montana location.
- Now in July, 2014, Dollar Tree Stores face fines of $177,800 for violations observed at a store in Boston.
So what happened this time? OSHA found merchandise in the store's stockroom “was consistently stacked in an unstable and unsecured manner that exposed workers to crushing injuries should the stacks collapse. Emergency exit routes were also consistently blocked by store inventory, shopping carriages, a conveyor and garbage. In addition, the store failed to maintain a means of access to an electrical control panel so that employees could turn off the store's electrical power in the event of an emergency.” These issues in Boston were very similar to issues found in multiple other locations that have led to return OSHA inspections (153) with 453 violations, 51 now classified as willful violations by OSHA.
OSHA acknowledged, "This case reflects this company's deliberate and ongoing refusal to effectively address hazards that have been cited multiple times at their stores across the country," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. "On his initial visit to the store, the OSHA inspector informed management of the hazards and the need to correct them. Yet, on subsequent visits, the inspector found these hazardous conditions again and again, showing an unacceptable disregard for employee health and safety."
This case study is an extreme example; however, it is noteworthy in that:
1) violations found at one facility can and do have a compounding effect if similar violations are found at any other facility owned by the same parent company, and
2) OSHA violations that may appear to some to be more dismissible, the storage in front of the back door and electrical box in this case, may lead to serious enforcement if not adequately addressed.
For more information, you may view the OSHA news release with the following link: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20141165.htm
Do you have further questions about OSHA and how they can affect your facility? Contact KPA Environmental Health and Safety at [email protected].