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legalities of working an 8 hour shift alone with no bathroom, heat, lights, etc

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  • legalities of working an 8 hour shift alone with no bathroom, heat, lights, etc

    I have a friend who works at a thrift store donation center and one sunday every month he is required to work an 8 hour shift by himself. He is locked out of the store and only has access to the dock area which has no bathroom and no heat. (This is Wisconsin and yes it is winter). There is heavy machinery including a hydralic hoist which could be potentially a hazard, especially when working alone. Is there some sort of law against this?

    This past sunday however he was working alone and the ulility company had shut off all the power to do maintenance. No one told him this would be done and his boss showed up after the power was turned off and just asked if he needed a flashlight. I think in this case with no power, no lights, no bathroom, heat, etc he would have been sent home? But his boss left and my friend had to continue to work. Because the power was off he could not not close the garage doors and could not secure the facility. Isn't this some sort of hazard? Could he file a complaint with his employer for safety violations?

  • #2
    Contact either the state or federal OSHA. I do believe OSHA requires restroom facilities within a reasonable distance at the very least.
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    • #3
      I have a friend who works at a thrift store donation center and one sunday every month he is required to work an 8 hour shift by himself.
      Not a violation in and of itself

      He is locked out of the store and only has access to the dock area which has no bathroom and no heat.
      No heat is not a violation, many people work outside or in unheated spaces year round. The bathroom is a potential issue. Only the OSHA investigator can make the call as to what is reasonable access.

      There is heavy machinery including a hydralic hoist which could be potentially a hazard, especially when working alone. Is there some sort of law against this?
      Again, in and of itself no, there are very few ocassions when OSHA will require multiple people on site. It's probably unwise but as long as the machinery is properly maintained and gaurded I doubt OSHA would have a problem with it.

      I think in this case with no power, no lights, no bathroom, heat, etc he would have been sent home?
      Not really, aside from the bathroom issue everything else is OK.


      Because the power was off he could not not close the garage doors and could not secure the facility. Isn't this some sort of hazard?
      Hazard to who? Except for building security what does it matter?

      Could he file a complaint with his employer for safety violations?
      Sure he can, however the only real issue here is the restrooms. OSHA deals with all complaints based on severity. This wouldn't be high up on the list.
      Make sure he has the facts and the regs. in hand if he choses to go to the employer.
      Last edited by Eng&SafetyMGR; 03-09-2008, 01:39 PM.
      "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate'' - Sir William of Ockham, a.k.a. Ockham's Razor

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      • #4
        Forgot the link;


        http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owad...ARDS&p_id=9790
        "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate'' - Sir William of Ockham, a.k.a. Ockham's Razor

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        • #5
          The fact that this is a one-time deal and not a regular situation will also lower it on the priority list.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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