According to a new report – Dirty Threads, Dangerous Factories: Health and Safety in Los Angeles’ Fashion Industry – released by the Garment Worker Center, the UCLA Labor Center and UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health, the Los Angeles garment manufacturing industry, US’ largest cut-and-sew apparel base, is “plagued by workplace violations and marked by a lack of worker protections”.
In 2015, researchers surveyed 307 workers in Los Angeles’ garment industry. In the survey, 82 per cent of garment workers mentioned they never received any health or safety training while 49 per cent said no first aid kits were available on site. Also, 60 per cent said poor ventilation led to excessive heat and dust accumulation hence 72 per cent said their workplaces were excessively dusty. Moreover, 47 per cent reported that restrooms were soiled and not maintained.
As per the survey, while 42 per cent said exit doors were regularly blocked and had seen rats and mice in the factories, 33 per cent reported they were not allowed to take breaks in the course of their workday and 26 per cent witnessed or experienced verbal or physical abuse.
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The researchers underlined in the report, “Our findings indicate that the conditions in the city’s garment workplaces are deeply unsafe and unhealthy for many of those who make what is stocked at popular clothing shops and department stores.”