Sweltering Heat Raises Health Concerns at Unairconditioned Facilities in the Inland Empire
Employees are facing unsafe working conditions at warehouses throughout Southern California. Despite summer temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, many facilities remain without air conditioning and are subject to sweltering heat. Workers have required medical attention as a result of these unhealthy working environments, but little has been done to protect them from future harm.
At Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP, we represent individuals who are exposed to and injured because of dangerous work conditions. Our award-winning legal team is dedicated to protecting workers’ rights and fighting to ensure that employers are held liable for failing to provide a safe workplace.
If you are required to work in unsafe conditions, contact our office at (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free consultation.
The Rise of the Mega-Warehouse
What was once a rural area with few structures dotting the desert landscape is now home to industrial buildings that are often over 1 million square feet. As reported by Bloomberg earlier this year, the Inland Empire has become a critical part of the global supply chain, with an estimated 40% of consumer goods coming from this area alone.
This “inland port” is now home to a number of “mega-warehouses,” with an estimated 250 million new square feet being built by the end of 2021. While many are focused on the environmental impact of these behemoths, regulators have done little to focus on the working conditions of the warehouse workers inside.
Unbearable Heat, Unreasonable Standards
According to an in-depth investigation by the Los Angeles Times, workers are regularly subjected to unbearable heat at a nearly 1 million square foot facility located in Lancaster. The warehouse, owned by Rite Aid, was built in 1999 and services stores throughout Southern California. Cheap land likely enticed the retailer to the Mojave Desert, where temperatures linger above 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the summer months.
As reported by the Times, workers complain of muscle cramping and racing heartbeats, several have fallen ill with heat exhaustion, some even required IV bags. Complaints have done little to improve working conditions.
Currently, there are no state or federal laws that require air conditioning at these indoor facilities despite unworkable temperatures. Employers, however, are required to provide a safe, healthy working environment, and there is legislation in the works to regulate these sites where extreme temperatures are becoming routine. Cal/OSHA is also drafting a Heat Illness Prevention rule.
Injured on the Job? Speak With a Lawyer Today.
If you are employed at one of these warehouses and subject to hazardous temperatures, contact our office immediately. We help those who have been injured on the job or are forced to work in unhealthy environments. Call (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.