Washington – For the second time in less than two years, the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries has issued $306,000 in citations for willful violations at two of its stores. L&I took the action after inspections at the company’s Bonney Lake and Kelso stores found the stores were knowingly exposing employees to workplace safety hazards; Dollar Tree stores in Aberdeen and Chehalis were cited for the same violations in 2016.
Occupational Safety and Health Assistant Director, Anne Soiza, said “Employees, and sometimes customers, are being put at risk even though the fixes to these safety problems are simple.”
L&I reported that it launched the new inspections after getting complaints about safety hazards at the two stores. A customer at the Bonney Lake store contacted L&I to express concern for store employees’ safety because boxes crowded and blocked pathways and emergency exit routes. Many boxes were also stacked precariously and so high they easily could have fallen on employees or customers, the agency reported.
The Bonney Lake store was cited for three willful safety violations. The first was for not ensuring exit routes were free of obstructions, a second for storing merchandise in a way that created a safety hazard. The stockroom was packed with boxes of merchandise in stacks and piles. Heavy boxes were on top of light ones, some had fallen from the stacks, and a third for not installing protective guarding or covers over light fixtures that could be struck and broken by the stacked merchandise, which could cause eye injuries or cuts from falling glass.
At the Kelso store, the company was cited for two willful violations with maximum penalties of $70,000 each. The violations were similar to those cited at the Bonney Lake store and previously at the Aberdeen and Chehalis stores.