Amazon Cited For Unsafe Conditions
Employers must ensure that employees work in safe environments. They must remove hazards from the workplace if possible and provide appropriate safety training and aids for workers.
Many employers don’t follow these rules, though. They do what they can to cut corners, causing employees to suffer serious injuries or even death.Federal safety inspectors recently issued citations against Amazon for putting workers in dangerous situations at three of its warehouses. This was the second penalty for the retailer in a month.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reviewed on-site injury logs at several locations. The agency found that Amazon exposed workers to ergonomic hazards and other unsafe conditions at warehouses in Castleton, New York; Aurora, Colorado; and Nampa, Idaho. Just last month, OSHA cited Amazon for unsafe conditions at three other facilities.
OSHA alleges that Amazon’s operating methods are creating hazardous work conditions, which are causing workers to suffer serious injuries. The retailer is not taking these injuries seriously enough and is trying to cut corners even though the company is worth more than $1 trillion.
Amazon faces up to $46,875 in penalties for the most recent violations. The company disagrees with OSHA’s findings, claiming that it has taken steps to mitigate injuries. It has implemented strategies such as job rotations, stretching, and engineering improvements. Robotics systems have been deployed in some warehouses to assist with repetitive tasks.
OSHA does not agree, claiming that Amazon workers were at high risk of lower back injuries due to poor lifting techniques, awkward bending and twisting, and long hours. These inspections found that Amazon’s work processes were designed for speed instead of safety and are therefore subjecting thousands of workers to harm.
OSHA received referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. This led to OSHA beginning investigations in July. By the following month, the probe expanded. Three other sites were added: Albany, New York; Boise, Idaho; and Denver, Colorado.
That’s not all. Amazon is facing other violations. Investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office are determining whether or not Amazon accurately reported worker injuries and misrepresented those injuries to obtain credit. In December, OSHA cited Amazon for 14 recordkeeping violations. The company has been fined $29,008. This is in addition to a $60,269 fine levied on Amazon for safety violations in three other warehouses: New Windsor, New York; Deltona, Florida; and Waukegan, Illinois.
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Big companies like Amazon should not be putting workers’ lives at risk. At that end, no company should be forcing employees to work in unsafe conditions.
If you have been injured in the workplace, seek legal help from a White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. We can help you get the compensation you are entitled to receive. Schedule a free initial consultation with our office by calling (914) 228-1770 or filling out the online form.