‘Severe violator’: Dollar Tree fined again for breaking worker safety rules

By: - August 3, 2023 12:54 pm

Dollar Tree has been named a “severe violator” of workplace safety regulations in Washington. (Grace Deng/Washington State Standard)

Dollar Tree is a recurring violator of Washington’s worker safety regulations and is getting hit with financial penalties as a result, the state Department of Labor and Industries said this week. 

The major discount retail chain faces $132,000 in fines after the state’s latest inspection of a store in Tacoma revealed “three repeat willful violations — issued when a business repeatedly puts their employees at risk when they knew or should have known relevant safety requirements.” Dollar Tree has appealed the citation.

Violations included blocked emergency exits, debris scattered on the floor and boxes stacked over six feet high, which could topple over and injure employees, the state said. 

The three violations are the same hazards the state cited Dollar Tree for three months ago. Labor and Industries has inspected Dollar Tree stores in the state more than 30 times in the past four years, resulting in more than a million dollars in fines.

A state inspector’s photo of debris at a Dollar Tree. Washington Department of Labor & Industries.

The company is subject to Washington’s “Severe Violator Enforcement Program,” which means state inspectors can show up at any time. Dollar Tree stores nationwide have a history of ignoring workplace safety. 

“Even after multiple large fines, it appears Dollar Tree has not gotten the message that they need to take sustained, comprehensive steps to keep their workers safe,” said Craig Blackwood, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Fines are placed in a workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund for injured workers and families of those who have died on the job. 

A spokesperson for Dollar Tree did not immediately return a request for comment. 

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Grace Deng
Grace Deng

Grace Deng joined the Washington State Standard shortly after graduating from Northwestern University in June 2023. Grace, who currently lives in Tacoma, is a local Washingtonian who was born and raised in Snohomish County. She has previous experience covering statehouse politics and policy for the Minnesota Reformer and the USA TODAY Ohio Network, which includes the Columbus Dispatch, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Akron-Beacon Journal.