EEEC Cites 'Underground' Garment Makers for Labor, Safety Violations

Investigators with the Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition targeted garment industry businesses recently that it said were operating illegally in Los Angeles County. Three teams of EEEC investigators visited 21 garment manufacturers and found that all of the businesses inspected had safety hazards, while 18 of the 21 were found in violation of California labor laws. The agency issued 35 citations totaling $163,200.

"Our effort is to root out California's underground economy by targeting businesses that avoid labor, tax, and licensing laws, safety and health regulations, and carry no workers' compensation insurance," said EEEC Director David Dorame. "By targeting enforcement against illegal operators, we help level the playing field for law abiding businesses and their employees."

The enforcement actions uncovered serious safety hazards, including exposed moving parts on belts, pulleys, and chain drives; unguarded pulleys; locked or blocked exit doors; and electrical panel boxes with live wires exposed. Investigators said they spoke with an employee who recently had his finger amputated as a result of an accident involving a pleating machine. Three pleating machines were red tagged for not having the proper guarding.

The sweeps also exposed the following labor violations: failure to keep records and post labor notices as mandated by law; no worker's compensation insurance; failure to keep accurate records for three years as required for garment manufacturers; and failure to register as a garment manufacturer.

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