They may have a green logo and they may have written environmental stewardship policies, but the work environment at Dollar Tree is dangerous. This month their employees may be wearing Christmas hats and jingle bells, but those will do little good protecting them from falling boxes and blocked fire exits.
Last week OSHA announced worker safety citations against Dollar Tree for repeated and willful violations at its store in New Castle, Delaware. The agency has proposed a $103,000 penalty, and noted:
“As of October 2014, OSHA has issued more than $800,000 in fines to Dollar Tree Stores for the same or similar violations (here, here, here, here.) In October 2013, three employees were injured at a Wilmington [Delaware] store by falling boxes.”
These most recent violations came
“after inspectors saw an employee struck by falling boxes” during a June 2014 visit to the New Castle Dollar Tree.
OSHA’s announcement says that since 2009, it has received safety complaints from Dollar Store employees working in 26 states. The company’s history tells us it will contest violations classified as willful or repeat.
I bet, however, if you asked Dollar Tree’s CEO Bob Sasser about his firm’s environmental policies, he’d give you a host of examples of how they care for the environment. The lighting and exhaust fans in their restrooms are controlled by occupancy sensors, they use hand dryers instead of paper towels, their building signage uses LED bulbs, they recycle cardboard, and tell vendors not to use lead or polyvinyl chloride in their products. But why is it that so many companies boast about their “green” practices while allowing (or creating) hazards in their employees’ work environment? Low-flush toilets save water, but how about bragging about a merchandise storage system that prevents boxes from falling on top of employees? LED lighting saves electricity, but why not gloat about a tool to keep boxes from blocking fire exits?
Dollar Tree says it wants its
“business is being run the right way; that we are following best practices; that we conduct all aspects of the business with honesty, integrity and respect; and that we are good stewards of the environment.”
Complying with the low bar set by OSHA regulations would put them a step closer to that goal.