'Failing to Keep Workers Safe': Amazon Cited After Ergonomic Hazards Found at Three Facilities

Amazon faces $60,269 in proposed penalties after inspections of sites in Florida, Illinois and New York.

Amazon has been cited and is facing proposed penalties of about $60,000 after OSHA found hazards at three facilities.

According to a news release, following referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, OSHA inspected warehouses in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York. These inspections revealed employee exposure to ergonomic hazards at all three warehouses and exposure to struck-by hazards at the Florida location.

So what was Amazon cited for? According to the news release, "failing to keep workers safe." The Department of Labor went into detail and said that the citations were issued for general duty clause violations and exposure to struck-by hazards. Amazon also received proposed penalties of $60,269 and hazard alert letters from the agency.

“Each of these inspections found work processes that were designed for speed but not safety, and they resulted in serious worker injuries,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker in the news release. “While Amazon has developed impressive systems to make sure its customers’ orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, the company has failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its workers.”

Amazon in 2022

This is not the first time Amazon has been cited. In March 2022, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) found that Amazon workers are required to perform repetitive and physically-demanding tasks at a fast pace, putting them at risk for injuries. The fulfillment center in Kent, Washington, received a $60,000 fine and faced a willful serious violation. Amazon later sued L&I and alleged that the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. A hearing is scheduled for this year.

In December 2022, Amazon was cited by OSHA for 14 record-keeping violations relating to not recording, properly classifying and following time recording requirements for injuries and illnesses.

Two reports in 2022 looked at injury rates at Amazon facilities and of delivery contractors. One report found that nearly 40,000 Amazon facility workers sustained injuries in 2021. The report lists the serious injury rate that year as 6.8 per 100 workers.

The other report—from the same organization, the Strategic Organizing Center—found that the injury rate for Amazon delivery contractors, also called delivery service partners, was 18.3 per 100 workers, higher than the 2020 rate of 13.3 per 100 workers. Delivery workers directly employed by Amazon faced injuries at a rate of 8.5 per 100 workers in 2021.

Photo credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com

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