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Dollar Tree Hit With $503,200 Safety Penalty

  • State: Washington
  • Topic: WEST
  • - Average time spent on item: 22 minutes
  • - Popular with: Insurance

The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries assessed a $503,200 fine against the Dollar Tree company for numerous safety violations at a store in Vancouver.

Dollar Tree has been a frequent flier when it comes to penalties for workplace safety violations. L&I said the company has been fined nearly $593,000 since 2013. And the agency said it has conducted investigations in 15 stores in the last two years alone.

The latest penalty, which L&I said is one of the largest it has ever issued, is based on repeated willful violations that include blocking emergency exits and improperly stacking merchandise.

“Challenges with too much inventory and not enough storage space lead to high stacks of boxes, often leaning over, which cause blocked and impeded pathways and other hazards,” L&I said in a statement. “Improperly stored merchandise can fall, resulting in serious injuries or death if the boxes strike employees or cause employees to fall, or if exits are blocked during an emergency.”

Workers at the store in Vancouver were also using shelves as makeshift ladders, which L&I said is not safe. The agency has now labeled Dollar Tree a “severe violator,” making its stores subject to unplanned inspections.

Dollar Tree is appealing the citation.

L&I said the violations don’t appear to be unique to the company’s stores in Washington.

“Dollar Tree locations around the country have been cited for improper stacking of merchandise boxes, mostly in their storerooms, and for blocking exits or impeding pathways,” the agency said.

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