Daily Archives: April 26, 2013

Poor Working Conditions in the Supply Chain Start at Home!

Last month, we told you that new estimates put the driver shortage at 240,000 drivers and that it’s all our fault. Why? Despite the fact that 40,000 new commercial licenses are granted annually by the DOT (Department of Transportation), turnover is 100+ percent per year due to poor working conditions.

But it seems that poor working conditions aren’t limited to our drivers. It seems that our dock and warehouse workers are also getting the short end of the shaft when it comes to working conditions (to the point where the high salaries commanded by the dock workers, which can exceed $120,000 in the Port of LA for example, might not be worth it). As per this article in the National Business Review on why we should stop hurting our container opening dock and warehouse workers,

  • imported sea containers increasingly have toxic substances in them
    such as glues (from shoes), emitted gasses (from wood or MDF), and residue from fumigants,
  • unprotected workers who enter these containers can die
    and those who don’t typically get very sick and some develop long term health issues, including cancer, and
  • up to 30% of shipping containers contain dangerous levels of toxins
    with 18% of containers containing toxins at a level legally reportable as unsafe and almost 90% contain some toxic fumigant or volatile organic compound. WTF?

Kind of puts the salary demands in perspective when you consider that their jobs contain more potential dangers than a coal mine!

And if this isn’t bad enough, we also have the warehouse workers who, according to this recent infographic on Warehouse Safety and BLS data,

  • have a 14% of being injured on the job,
  • have a 3% chance of being seriously injured in a forklift accident on the job, and
  • have a 0.02% chance of being killed, most likely from a forklift accident!

Ouch! Our dock workers have it bad. Our drivers have it bad. And our warehouse workers have it bad. I think it’s time to stop focussing exclusively on the outsourced supply chain in a search for poor working conditions. There’s plenty of poor working conditions to fix here at home!