Worker advocates in Inland Empire sound alarm on heat-related dangers on the job

As a heatwave persists across Southern California, worker advocates in the Inland Empire say the hot weather is especially dangerous for people who do physical jobs both outside and in warehouses.

An excessive heat warning remains in effect in the Inland Empire through Saturday night.

“It could be hell, it could be super hot,” said Martez Brewster, a Chino resident who works in a warehouse.

On hot days, some warehouses are miserable places to work. But not where Brewster works because ice, water and fans are readily available where he works.

“It’s lovely,” Brewster indicated.

Those are the measures the Inland Empire’s Warehouse Worker Resource Center says employers need to have available as dangerously hot temperatures make those who work physical jobs vulnerable to heat.

But advocates feel more needs to be done.

“We feel this has been an emergency that has been delayed,” said Deogracia Cornelio, education director for the resource center.

She added that while there are regulations for shade, water and breaks for those working outside in hot temperatures, compliance could be better, and there is not yet a heat standard for inside temperatures.

“We feel that we have been, for over a decade, calling out the need to address heat illness in warehouses or in work places indoors and outdoors,” Cornelio said.

Cynthia Ayala, who works at the San Bernardino Airport for Amazon, feels that first hand.

“I spend my work days out in the sun for 10 hours a day,” she said. “It’s only been three days of this super hot weather and one of my coworkers already passed out.”

In a statement, Amazon told KTLA that the health and safety of their employees is their “top priority.”

“Our heat-related safety protocols are robust and often exceed industry standards and federal OSHA guidance,” the statement from an Amazon spokesperson reads.

As for workers who are outside, Amazon says they provide water, electrolyte packets, misters and fans, and encourage workers to take breaks with access to air conditioning.

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