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Rise in workplace injuries alarming at Goodwill

When the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health launches an investigation into the working conditions of an industry, its purpose is to ensure the employees have a safe environment in which to work. That safety involves protection equipment, freedom from hazards and proper training to prevent workplace injuries. Recently, following a fatal accident in which a worker's head was crushed in a compactor, Goodwill Industries is facing a Cal/OSHA probe and possibly criminal charges.

While the salaries of the CEO and president of Goodwill continue to rise, the working conditions may be declining. In fact, one employee claims he was fired after he filed a complaint, including photographs, of unsafe conditions around the compactors and lack of training for those using the machines. The fatal accident occurred only one month after the employee's complaint.

Safety gloves and glasses are apparently not provided for workers who often encounter human filth and syringes among clothing donations. Employees working on the docks or around trucks and machinery say they wear only sneakers to protect their feet since Goodwill does not supply steel-toed shoes. However, the common complaint among workers and investigators seems to be the lack of training for using dangerous and potentially deadly equipment. Poor training seems to be a problem in Goodwill warehouses in California and across the country.

When employers fail to provide training, accidents may happen, potentially resulting in devastating injuries. Workplace injuries involving heaving equipment or vehicles may prove fatal or result in permanent disabilities. In cases where an injured employee anticipates difficulty receiving the workers' compensation benefits he or she deserves, the assistance of an attorney may be invaluable.

Source: sacbee.com, "A death. A widening probe. Does Goodwill endanger workers?", Marjie Lundstrom, June 20, 2017

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