OSHA has proposed a $60,269 fine for Amazon after finding that injury lists at three warehouses put workers at “high risk for lower back injuries and musculoskeletal conditions.”
The warehouses in this section of OSHA’s Amazon.com survey are in Waukegan, Illinois, a Chicago suburb; New Windsor, New York, about 80 minutes’ drive north of Harlem; and Deltona, half an hour south on Interstate 4 from Orlando.
“Each of these inspections found work processes designed for speed, not safety, and resulted in serious worker injuries,” said Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Health and Safety. “While Amazon has developed impressive systems to ensure that customers’ orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, Amazon has failed to demonstrate the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its employees.”
The Occupational Safety Health Administration inspectors of the U.S. Department of Labor said the higher injury rate was “the higher frequency with which workers must lift packages and other objects; the weight of the items; awkward postures when lifting weights, such as bending, bending, and reaching; and long hours are required to complete assigned tasks.”
The Deltona facility was also cited for exposing workers to crash hazards “as goods are stacked unevenly and/or not secured to prevent them from collapsing/relocating”.
This is from the PDF that aggregates the Attribution and Penalty Notices for each facility. Three other warehouses — Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Castleton, New York—also under investigation.
In December, OSHA accused these six Amazon facilities of failing to report workplace injuries, failing to report them in a timely manner, or misclassifying injuries. This included an injury recorded only as “Strain” at the Waukegan warehouse. Fewer injuries were strains of neck muscles. The primary injury was a head injury from a PIT harness hook assembly.
The 14 record-keeping citations there resulted in $29,008 in suggested fines.
“Our concern is that at an Amazon-sized company, nothing is done to prevent an injury from recurring if it’s not even recorded on the registry, which could have significant consequences for many workers,” Parker said.
In any case, Amazon can reduce proposed penalties through workplace regulations, including hiring more staff to assist with the manual handling of large goods. Amazon also has 15 business days to pay the proposed penalty; to appeal violations; or request an informal meeting with regional managers.
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