Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has entered into a corporate-wide settlement agreement with the operators of one of the nation’s largest discount retail chains to improve workplace safety significantly in stores nationwide.
The settlement agreement requires Dollar Tree and Family Dollar to conduct a comprehensive, nationwide assessment of the root causes of the violations OSHA has repeatedly cited at multiple stores, with a plan to identify causes and make operational changes to correct them within a two-year period. In the meantime, to ensure prompt abatement of any future violations related to blocked exits, access to fire extinguishers and electrical panels, and improper material storage at stores nationwide, the companies must correct hazards — within 48 hours of OSHA notifying them — and later submit proof the hazards were corrected. Failure to do so subjects the companies to monetary assessments of $100,000 per day of violation, up to $500,000, as well as OSHA inspection and enforcement actions.
“By securing this agreement with Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, the department is making good on President Biden’s commitment to be the most pro-worker administration in history,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. “At the Department of Labor, we know that every worker deserves to come home safe at the end of the workday. Through our robust enforcement of workplace protections and use of innovative legal methods that resulted in this agreement, thousands of workers will have a healthier, safer and more certain future.”
“By creating incentives for companies to implement systemic solutions nationwide, the Department of Labor has created a pathway to ensuring more workers are safe and protected when they’re at work,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “The Solicitor’s office and OSHA support innovative agreements under which companies commit to solve the underlying problems that create hazards. We were willing to use this approach because these companies had already taken substantial steps to address the systemic issues, which gave us confidence that this innovative approach would work.”
“This agreement focuses on improving working conditions at thousands of stores nationwide,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have agreed to significant investments to more effectively identify and correct the root causes of the hazards most commonly found during OSHA inspections, including blocked exits and unstable stacking of materials.”
The companies have also agreed to pay $1.35 million in penalties to settle existing contested as well as open inspections of similar alleged violations.
Entered on Aug. 17, 2023, the corporate-wide settlement agreement covers all Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores within federal OSHA jurisdiction. As part of the agreement, which may last up to two years, the company will form safety advisory groups with extensive employee representation, enhance hazard identification and control programs, develop an audit program, create a new employee training program and hire additional safety professionals.
Dollar Tree has also agreed to maintain a 24-hour hotline to receive safety complaints and establish a tracking system to ensure complaints are addressed. The company will also hold quarterly meetings between OSHA and its Dollar Tree and Family Dollar operations to discuss progress towards systemic improvements.
The company first signed a corporate-wide settlement agreement with OSHA in 2015, which expired in 2018.
Based in Chesapeake, Virginia, Dollar Tree operates more than 16,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores in 48 states and Canada, and is one of the nation’s largest chains of discount retail locations as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores. The company also maintains a nationwide logistics network and employs more than 193,000 people.
Source: US DOL