HEAT, HAZARDS AND INDIFFERENCE TO SAFETY IN CALIFORNIA’S FAST-FOOD RESTAURANTS
“Fast food workers experience suffocating heat, burns and other injuries, even sewage
flooding… and our employers say: ¡Aguántate! – Deal with it! – And get back to work.“
Drawing from a survey of nearly 400 fast-food workers across the state, the report underscores that economic instability and housing insecurity significantly exacerbate the impact of injuries or illnesses on fast-food workers. The survey also finds that for many fast-food workers, the cost of a small medical bill or a few unpaid days off work to recover from an injury can force cooks and cashiers to choose between paying rent or eating dinner. In some cases, lost income after an injury can even result in workers facing eviction.
The top five publicly traded fast food corporations operating in California generated over $26 billion in profits over the last two years. Meanwhile, the cooks and cashiers who drive these profits report facing serious risk of illness or injury due to dangerous working conditions. Specifically,
- 70% of fast-food workers report having to work through excessive heat. Of those workers, 79% say they have experienced symptoms of heat-related illness
- 42% have had to miss work due to injuries they suffered at their fast food jobs
- 38% report having been exposed to chemical and biological toxins such as excessive smoke, sewage, and gas leaks.
- 29% report having been injured on the job
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