Workers complain of unbearable conditions at local warehouse

A worker is claiming unbearable conditions at a local furniture warehouse and has filed a formal complaint.
Shirelle Cooper says she was just one of the employees at Belnick. Inc. in Canton who went to great lengths to stay warm in what she calls extreme temperatures.
She has pictures of employees using shrink wrap as a makeshift wind screen as they drive forklifts. She also has pictures of herself bundled up. She says the conditions pose a potential work hazard.
"One of the employees had a thermometer in there and it was seven degrees one night," she said. "It stayed in the teens that whole week."
Channel 2 Action News talked to Belnick's plant manager and he says he "emphatically challenges" these claims.
The company CEO, Sean Belnick, returned to the warehouse late Friday night to give Channel 2's Carl Willis a tour after hearing inquiries. He says there are working heaters throughout the facility.

CANTON, Ga. — "I think it's completely unfounded, and we feel like we do a great job with our employees," said Belnick. "We have about 350 employees. We're creating jobs for America. We've got a great warehouse, a great staff."

Still, three former employees who either quit or were fired say the heaters are never turned on.

"These are disgruntled ex-employees who no longer work here," said Belnick. "So, I don't know what agendas they necessarily have."

Willis asked why they came forward.

"This is not an axe to grind," said Cooper. "This is for all the people that are still working there who can't afford to say anything or lose their job."

"If I have a chance to make things a little easier, or a lot more easy, then I'm going to take that chance," said former truck unloader Joseph Ensley.

Willis called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Friday. They confirm that they received a formal complaint and opened an inspection back on Jan. 14.

They say cold temperatures at work are not always direct violations. but they do expect employers to provide protections for employees.

"I saw guys do pushups so they could stay warm," said former Crew Leader Robert Bryant. "We worked through terrible temperatures."

"It's not warehouse conditions, because I've worked in a warehouse for many years," said Cooper. "It's inhumane conditions."

Belnick strongly disagreed. "We have annual OSHA inspections. People come in here; they take a look at it. If we did have inhumane conditions, I'm sure we would have been outed by now," said Belnick.

According to OSHA the Belnick complaint is still open and the findings of their inspection are still pending.