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Complaint filed alleges potential California workplace injuries

A complaint has been filed against Walmart with the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health. It alleges that conditions in an Eastvale warehouse and distribution center are dangerous and could lead to workplace injuries. The workers are represented by Warehouse Workers United, or WWU, which filed the complaint.

Among the problems detailed include driving forklifts in the dark, broken hand carts forcing workers to carry heavy loads by hand, unreachable emergency exits and hot trailers. Also, employees claim that there are dirty bathroom facilities and that workers aren't being allowed enough time to fill water bottles while working in hot temperatures. The conditions are part of a formal complaint filed last week.

The complaint requests that the facility be completely inspected. Other Walmart warehouses have previously been charged with similar health and safety violations. A WWU spokesperson says that the poor working conditions may be a result of cutting corners in an attempt to keep consumer prices down. Part of the complaint addresses an incident that occurred on July 12. A worker was seriously injured when a ramp slipped away as he backed a forklift out of a shipping container.

The complaint is designed to stop further workplace injuries from occurring in the California Walmart warehouse. Allegedly, workers are sometimes sent home after incurring injuries without a medical exam or being told about their workers' compensation rights. Additionally, some workers have had to pay for their own safety equipment. It remains to be seen how conditions might be improved in light of the complaint.

Source: In These Times, "Complaint Filed Against California Walmart Warehouse," Kari Lydersen, July 19, 2012

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