A day before the planned 50 mile march from an NFI Industries warehouse in Mira Loma California to Los Angeles, nearly three dozen warehouse workers have walked out of work and began protesting. The working conditions involve high temperatures, inadequate ventilation and poorly maintained equipment. Conditions such as these are prone to workplace injuries caused by fatigue or faulty machinery.
A Warehouse Workers United director has expressed the concerns of the workers, and the efforts made to correct these safety hazards. The California division of OSHA has issued over $250,000 in fines to National Distribution Centers in Chino for over 60 violations found during an investigation. Unstable stacking and machines without safety guards were among the violations that could contribute to workplace injuries in the future as well if not corrected immediately.
The march was planned to demonstrate and protest the outrageous working conditions these warehouse employees are enduring. These warehouses are operated by retail giants including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Employees at these locations also reportedly suffer from unsatisfactory access to clean water and have less than basic healthcare benefits.
These types of conditions can cause workplace injuries over a long period of time as well as a sudden accident caused by a collapse of stacked materials or unsafe machinery. Fatigue can cause accidents in the workplace as temperatures rise and tempers rise from having these working conditions. Heat exhaustion in California is a very real and present danger inside a warehouse as well as working outside on loading docks or in transporting goods. Workers' compensation benefits typically apply in circumstances when an on-the-job injury or illness results in medical expenses and missed time from work.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Inland Empire warehouse workers walk off job, protest conditions," Ronald D. White, Sept. 12, 2012