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On-the-job injury still an issue at California warehouse

In 2012, the California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration received a complaint about hazardous working conditions at one of the country's largest cross-docking facilities. When Cal/OSHA conducted an inspection of the operation, investigators found several violations that could easily lead to an on-the-job injury. The company, National Distribution Center LP -- which does business at this location as NFI -- appealed the citations, and a settlement was reached.

Fast-forwarding to February of this year, Cal/OSHA received notification that a worker's foot was run over by a forklift. This prompted investigators to reinspect the facility. At that time, it was discovered that the company did not hold up its end of the agreement. Foot protection that the company was supposed to provide to its workers was substandard and was not even distributed. Further, the painted lines meant to delineate lanes for forklifts versus pedestrians were faded, and inspectors observed forklifts traveling in what are supposed to be pedestrian-only lanes.

To some, foot protection and painted lines may not seem to warrant serious violations. However, the nature of a cross-docking facility does make it serious. In such a facility, goods are off-loaded in one area and immediately taken to another area to be loaded. Therefore, people and forklifts are constantly moving around the facility -- putting workers at risk. A broken foot may not seem like a life-threatening injury, but if a person loses a foot, he or she can no longer work in certain professions, including this facility.

Therefore, Cal/OSHA has once again imposed fines on NFI, which has again appealed the agency's proposed fines and citations. In the meantime, if anyone suffers from an on-the-job injury, he or she is entitled to benefits under California’s workers' compensation system. Those benefits will cover medical costs and recovery-related expenses, along with any loss of income, while the worker heals from an injury.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "Cal/OSHA Cites Warehouse Co Over $300,000 for Failing to Correct Serious Hazards at its Mira Loma Facility", , July 25, 2014

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