The Occupational Security and Well being Administration, or OSHA, has issued a quotation towards Amazon, alleging that the corporate violated security legal guidelines and didn’t hold staff in three warehouses protected. The regulator has additionally proposed $60,269 in penalties associated to the violations — a drop within the bucket for a corporation that recorded over $127 billion in sales during the third quarter of 2022 alone however a comparatively excessive penalty in comparison with lots of the ones it confronted from OSHA earlier than.
According to a press release, the quotation stems from inspections at three warehouses positioned in Deltona, Florida, Waukegan, Illinois, and New Windsor, New York. OSHA says that Amazon “uncovered staff to ergonomic, struck-by hazards” within the location, placing them at “excessive threat for decrease again accidents and different musculoskeletal problems.”
Doug Parker, assistant secretary for Occupational Security and Well being, laid a part of the blame on the tempo that Amazon units for its warehouse workers. “Every of those inspections discovered work processes that have been designed for velocity however not security,” he stated, mentioning that the system on the warehouses appeared geared towards getting packages shipped out quite than employee security.
It’s a criticism Amazon has confronted for years, together with from OSHA itself. Final yr, advocacy group The Strategic Organizing Heart launched a report saying that Amazon staff make up a disproportionately high percentage of all warehouse industry injuries within the US. Outdoors of the warehouse, a 2019 report from Buzzfeed and ProPublica accused the corporate of trading safety for speed in its delivery network, and that time was reiterated last year by the SOC.
An announcement from the activist group Athena Coalition quotes Daniel Olayiwola, an Amazon warehouse worker in San Antonio: “OSHA’s findings are a mirrored image of the expertise of Amazon staff like me in warehouses all around the nation.” Olayiwola says that staff have been “talking out for years concerning the grueling tempo of labor and exploitative insurance policies that instantly trigger burnout, extreme stress on our our bodies, and unsafe conditions.”
For its half, Amazon doesn’t agree with OSHA’s newest allegations. “We take the security and well being of our workers very significantly, and we strongly disagree with these allegations and intend to enchantment,” reads a press release from spokesperson Kelly Nantel. “We’ve cooperated absolutely, and the federal government’s allegations don’t mirror the truth of security at our websites.” Nantel additionally cites an enchancment within the firm’s damage charges between 2019 and 2021 (a declare much like one Amazon made in response to the 2022 SOC report) and says that “We look ahead to sharing extra throughout our enchantment concerning the quite a few security improvements, course of enhancements, and investments we’re making to additional cut back accidents.”
In keeping with OSHA, Amazon acquired citations for 14 record-keeping violations final yr for “failing to document accidents and sicknesses, misclassifying accidents and sicknesses, not recording accidents and sicknesses throughout the required time, and never offering OSHA with well timed damage and sickness information.” These got here with proposed fines of round $29,008 and have been a part of the identical investigation because the citations introduced Wednesday.
The regulator dinging Amazon is uncommon however not unparalleled. The corporate acquired a quotation in 2015 for failing to correctly document work-related accidents and sicknesses, in addition to a handful of covid-related citations in 2020.
OSHA says that it’s additionally conducting investigations at three different Amazon warehouses in Aurora, Colorado, Nampa, Idaho, and Castleton, New York, after the US Lawyer’s Workplace for the Southern District of New York referred it to take action final summer season.