If you drive 170 miles due north of Milwaukee, you will arrive in Marinette. The town is home to about 10,000 residents and a Dollar Tree discount store that got some unwanted attention earlier this year.
Biggest penalties in Wisconsin
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the budget retail outlet for several storage, exit and fire hazards that could lead to serious on-the-job injuries. The penalties assessed against the store in March are the largest levied by OSHA against any Wisconsin business so far this year: $477,089.
The federal agency said obstructed and unmarked exits exposed Dollar Store employees to fire hazards. OSHA also cited the company for a pair of fire extinguisher failures: access to the devices was blocked and the extinguishers had not been properly maintained.
In addition, there were blocked electrical panels and unstable stacks of merchandise that also posed dangers to employees.
Second biggest penalties in the state
The second-largest penalties assessed by OSHA against a Wisconsin employer this year were filed against an Appleton modular structure manufacturer.
For safety and health violations deemed serious and repeat, Mods International Inc. was hit with penalties totaling $216,299.
OSHA said many of the penalties are due to the company’s failure to train employees on proper handling of hazardous materials, fall protection and proper forklift operation. Mods also lacks adequate machine guarding and failed to store oxygen and acetylene tanks properly. It also has electrical hazards and other safety violations.
Compliance isn’t voluntary
OSHA’s Appleton area director said, “Employers are legally required to protect workers from known safety and health hazards in their facilities. Compliance with OSHA regulations is not voluntary.”
The agency is rightfully tough on companies that ignore safety regulations and allow hazards to go unchecked — carelessness that can result in serious workplace injuries.