Dollar General, which is proposing to put a third store in Morgan County in a rural residential neighborhood ten miles south of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, is a recidivist violator of health and safety laws.
Over the past five years, the Nashville-based corporation has been penalized more than $450,000 in 22 separate cases brought by federal agencies.
That’s according to a report from the Corporate Research Project and their Violation Tracker database.
Earlier this year, for example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a $122,100 fine against Dollar General for four violations at a Bear, Delaware facility.
OSHA alleged that the Delaware violations continued a six-year history of similar safety hazards found in more than 70 inspections of Dollar General Corp.’s stores nationwide.
The company received more than 40 OSHA citations since 2009.
Many involved blocked emergency exits and electrical panels, and improperly maintained fire extinguishers.
“Again and again, our inspectors have found similar hazards at Dollar General stores, yet the company continues to put its employees at risk,” said Erin Patterson, director of OSHA’s Wilmington, Delaware area office. “In a fire or emergency, every second counts. A blocked exit route can lead to tragedy. The company needs to address these serious issues immediately.”
“Dollar General is the biggest player in the dollar store sector of U.S. retailing, which targets consumers with incomes so low they can’t afford to shop at discounters such as Wal-Mart,” writes Philip Mattera in the Dollar General Corporate Rap Sheet. “It operates more than 11,000 small-box outlets, mostly in small towns and rural areas, and has annual revenue of more than $17 billion.”
“Dollar General has sought to capture a greater share of the spending of low-income families on consumables by introducing more food products, including some fresh and frozen items, but that spending has been hampered by cuts in the food stamp benefits on which many of those families depend.”
“Along with the other dollar store chains, Dollar General has been involved in controversies over the sale of hazardous products — including Chinese-made toys containing lead — and the denial of overtime pay to store managers who perform a great deal of non-administrative work. The company, whose workforce of about 100,000 is entirely non-union, has been targeted in some of the wage protests by retail worker groups.”