posted on Mar, 1 2018 @ 04:49 AM
Concrete. It seems like a simple thing but it is actually much more complex than most people think. There are hundreds of different recipes for
concrete that are used in various applications from being fast setting, cure underwater, are better under tension (opposite of compression), high wear
resistance, high shock resistance, high compression loads, etc. I found this out while pouring concrete in college and the company owner was telling
me the differences of the concrete in the different areas of the building. I found that the concrete in most of the big box stores use an extremely
dense concrete that has superior compression ratings so that a heavier load can be placed on it without doing damage. This is needed when using the
fork lifts that are very heavy themselves but also can have very heavy loads in addition and all that weight is placed on the contact area of 4
relatively small wheels, so the PSI rating has to be high to handle this. Also, the stacked "shelving" that is usually 3-5 levels high (depending
upon if it is retail or a distribution warehouse) and A LOT of weight is placed on the vertical support members of the shelving.
I was told that the same concrete is usually used in all the big stores from super markets to electronics stores to sporting good stores. When you
see a mall go up and they have the big stores, they use that concrete because they never know what tenant will be in the location 5 years down the
road, so they have to build it to suit the needs of the future.
Now ask anyone who has ever worked at one of these stores, especially the home imporvement stores like Home Despoiler and Lowe's Expectations, Also
almost all warehoses like Amazon warehouses fit this bill as well, and they will tell you that one of their main complaints is over-all body ache
after work, very often in the knees, hips, back (a specific part, parts or entire back, & neck) and also feet and ankles take a beating but I've
found that many people seem to find good shoes which help with this. The reason for the pain in the body is the extreme hardness of the concrete and
every time a step is taken, it sends a shock wave up the body. Even standing in one place can give severe pain throughout the body which is why most
places have put padded mats to ease this problem for the cashiers.
I remember the days after a regular 8 hour shift that felt like I had hiked 40 miles with a 90lb pack in steel sole boots. My knee would swell the
size of a large grapefruit and be hot to touch. It would always go down after a few hours off my feet but the last few hours on the job seemed like
sadistic tourture and I dreded every step I had to take. The thing is that the managers often don't have the same problem because they spend a lot
of time at the counter, in the back at desks, etc and aren't pounding the concrete at a brisk pace (because that customer needs that new turbo
charged leaf blower NOW for his 2500sq ft lawn).
There really isn't much that can be done to remedy the situation, at least that I have found, when working in these conditions. I know that the
stores (corporate) are FULLY aware of the health effects of working on this surface for such long periods but they seem to push people to breaking
point, then let them go when they can't "keep up", then they have a health condition which wasn't "caused" by an on the job accident, so they
are SOL when it comes to workman's comp and they are in a hard way of finding work they can do. I've seen the same thing happen to more people than
I care to think and they all know what caused it. Some people wear back braces because it can help some, but that has drawbacks as well.
So I think a lot of the current "opiod crisis" is because of a lot of people in similar situations who have been worked to their breaking point and
since it was a gradual degradation of their body/joints, the company can dismiss them with clean hands and move on the the next sucker to fill in the
job. The worker gets on the meds because they have to keep their job, they can't take time off to help heal and can't even drop to part time work
b/c they may never get full time again (or they may just be let go). So they have to do something to "keep up" with the job requirements and is one
reason that these companies never drug test after you are hired. If they did, they would have to fire a large amount of staff, and or they would be
restricted from many activities like running the forklift, heavy equipment & machinery that is required for the job.
So now, after 30-40 years of people working in these healt hazards, we are reaping the "rewards", the companies have gotten insanely rich
(especially the CEO's and original owners - yes I'm looking at the original owner of Home Despot) and have left thousands, if not hundreds of
thousands of permenantly damaged workers who are in extreme pain and unable to do a lot of "normal" work. To add insult to actual injury, the
federal and state governemtn has launched their war on law abiding pain patients who have been taken advantage of from the beginning and left in the
gutter as trash. Now the Fat cat politicians take their kickbacks from every industry and now new "treatment" facilities that don't fix the
underlying problem. They ahve scared good people and medical professionals and it is sadistic in what they are doing. They never ask why things are
happening, just how can we make ourselves look good as if we care to fix the problem.
I would wager a hefty bet that a person working full time in one of these big box stores, as a floor person/runner/stocker, has more joint damage
after 15 years than an NFL player playing the same amount of time. The only difference is that they get good health benefits and the pay is just a
little bit better, and their injuries are acknowledged and not brushed off as someone trying to game the system.
I'd like to hear from people who have worked in these types of places and hear if you had health problems that you can relate to the above, what your
experiences are and if you think there is anything that can be done. I will say that OSHA has severely dropped the ball on this one and I question if
there wasn't some illegal happenings when/if there were ever a study done on the health hazards of prolonged exposure to this type of surface.