The Occupational Security and Well being Administration, or OSHA, has issued a quotation in opposition to Amazon, alleging that the corporate violated security legal guidelines and did not maintain employees in three warehouses secure. 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 gross sales through the third quarter of 2022 alone however a comparatively excessive penalty in comparison with most of the ones it confronted from OSHA earlier than.
Based on a press launch, the quotation stems from inspections at three warehouses situated in Deltona, Florida, Waukegan, Illinois, and New Windsor, New York. OSHA says that Amazon “uncovered employees to ergonomic, struck-by hazards” within the location, placing them at “excessive danger 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 staff. “Every of those inspections discovered work processes that have been designed for pace however not security,” he mentioned, stating that the system on the warehouses appeared geared towards getting packages shipped out moderately than employee security.
It’s a criticism Amazon has confronted for years, together with from OSHA itself. Final 12 months, advocacy group The Strategic Organizing Middle launched a report saying that Amazon employees make up a disproportionately excessive proportion of all warehouse business accidents within the US. Outdoors of the warehouse, a 2019 report from Buzzfeed and ProPublica accused the corporate of buying and selling security for pace in its supply community, and that time was reiterated final 12 months by the SOC.
A press release from the activist group Athena Coalition quotes Daniel Olayiwola, an Amazon warehouse employee in San Antonio: “OSHA’s findings are a mirrored image of the expertise of Amazon employees like me in warehouses all around the nation.” Olayiwola says that employees have been “talking out for years in regards to 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 staff 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 replicate 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 in regards to the quite a few security improvements, course of enhancements, and investments we’re making to additional scale back accidents.”
Based on OSHA, Amazon obtained citations for 14 record-keeping violations final 12 months 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 data.” 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 extraordinary. The corporate obtained 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.