Four Treasure Valley Dollar Tree stores cited for unsafe conditions

A federal work-safety agency has cited Dollar Tree stores in Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell for unsafe conditions that exposed employees to dangers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said inspectors found unstable and poorly stacked boxes in storage areas. In one store, inspectors found a worker injured when a stack of boxes fell on him. At another, an inspector witnessed a stack of boxes fall and nearly injure an employee.

They also saw blocked aisles and exit routes.

The agency said its inspections were in response to complaints it received about the working conditions. OSHA proposed $898,682 in penalties.

“Dollar Tree Stores has a history of exposing their employees to safety and health hazards,” Loren Sweatt, an OSHA deputy assistant secretary, said in a news release this week. “Improper storage of merchandise creates unnecessary risks for employees, while blocked exits pose serious risks to the safety of employees and customers in an emergency.”

The company has 15 days to accept or contest the findings and seek a hearing.

A Dollar Tree spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday.

OSHA said the stores are at 1407 N. Milwaukee St. in Boise, 6259 N. Linder Road in Meridian, 410 Caldwell Blvd. in Caldwell and 1607 Caldwell Blvd. in Nampa.

During April 2019 inspections, OSHA said, its inspectors found boxes stacked from 8 to 10 feet high that were not secured to prevent them from falling on employees. Some of the stacks had heavier boxes stacked on top of lighter ones.

At one store, inspectors found a worker who was injured and needed help after boxes fell on the worker. As an inspector shot video of conditions during another inspection, a stack of boxes fell and nearly injured an employee. Inspectors were told other employees had been injured by falling boxes.

OSHA did not say at which of the stores those accidents took place.

At the Caldwell store, merchandise was stacked against an electrical panel, which could have prevented employees from reaching switches in case of an emergency, OSHA said.

Inspectors also cited the Nampa store for an unsafe ladder bolted to the exterior wall of a bathroom. Another ladder lacked a required 3-foot extension above a landing.

At the Meridian store, pathways in storage areas were blocked that could have prevented employees from reaching an exit during an emergency.

The company was given 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.