The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration has fined Dollar Tree Stores Inc., $177,800 after OSHA inspectors from the Braintree area inspection office found dangerous hazards at a store in Roslindale, MA. According to OSHA reports, the Boston neighborhood store repeatedly exposed workers to dangerous conditions including blocked exits and hazards in the store’s stockroom.
“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,” Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts, said in a press release. “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.”
According to OSHA documents, the inspection was performed in December 2013. The official reportedly found that 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. Additionally, emergency exit routes were blocked by store inventory, shopping carriages, a conveyor and garbage. The report also stated that 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.
Consequently OSHA cited Dollar Tree Stores for three willful violations, totaling $174,500 in fines. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health, according to OSHA standards. The company was also cited for one serious violation, with a $3,300 fine, for allowing trash and garbage to accumulate throughout the stockroom, creating tripping and exit hazards for the workers. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, according to OSHA.
In OSHA’s press release, it was stated that Dollar Tree Stores has been inspected 153 times nationally over 19 years and was cited for 453 violations of OSHA standards. Within the last five years, Dollar Tree Stores was cited 51 times for the same violations being cited willfully at the Roslindale store.
OSHA’s acting regional administrator for New England Robert Hooper stated “Placing employees repeatedly at risk of serious injuries or death is serial behavior for this company, and it must change. A large employer such as Dollar Tree Stores has a responsibility to its employees to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers at all of its more than 5,000 locations.”
Employers bear a responsibility to all of their employees, to ensure a safe and hazard-free workplace. Knowingly exposing workers to dangerous conditions, like the ones described in the case against Dollar Tree, increases the chances an employee will be injured, and is ultimately considered negligent. Those who have become injured at work as the result of an employer’s failure to ensure a safe work area and negligence are entitled to file a premises liability claim against the employer and the company, as well as collecting workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries sustained because of those hazards.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and experience to assist clients who have been injured as the result of workplace negligence. Our team has successfully handled and settled a broad range of personal injury cases for fifty years, and we stand ready to fight for the compensation that our clients deserve. If you were recently injured while at work, and believe the cause of your injury was your employer’s negligence, call our office to discuss your legal rights and options with one of our attorneys.
Upon initial review of your case, we can determine whether you may qualify for collecting compensation for your injuries and any expenses directly related to those injuries. All initial consultations are completely confidential and free of charge, and our attorneys are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have about your case.