Amazon cited by OSHA for warehouse injury report failures

These citations are part of an ongoing investigation.

December 16, 2022, 6:32 PM

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Friday that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Amazon for failing to properly record some work-related injuries and illnesses during inspections at six warehouse facilities.

OSHA issued citations against Amazon for 14 recordkeeping violations, including failing to record injuries and illnesses, misclassifying injuries and illnesses, not recording injuries and illnesses within the required time, and not providing OSHA with timely injury and illness records, according to the Department of Labor.

Amazon faces $29,008 in proposed penalties, according to the Department of Labor.

"Solving health and safety problems in the workplace requires injury and illness records to be accurate and transparent," said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker in a statement.

PHOTO: Amazon logo seen at the entrance to Amazon's Shannon Building in Dublin, July 8, 2021.
Amazon logo seen at the entrance to Amazon's Shannon Building in Dublin, July 8, 2021.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE

"Our concern is that nothing will be done to keep an injury from recurring if it isn't even recorded in the logbook which – in a company the size of Amazon – could have significant consequences for a large number of workers," Parker added.

According to Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the citations arise out of workplace safety inspections at Amazon warehouses outside New York City, Albany, Denver, Boise, Chicago, and Orlando.

OSHA initiated the inspections in July and August based on referrals received from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

"Those referrals concerned potential workplace hazards related, among other things, to Amazon's required pace of work for its warehouse employees," Biase said.

According to the Department of Labor, Amazon has 15 business days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The findings are part of an ongoing investigation.

"The safety of our employees is our top priority, and we invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year into ensuring we have a robust safety program to protect them," said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel in response to OSHA's finding.

Nantel continued, "Accurate recordkeeping is a critical element of that program and while we acknowledge there may have been small administrative errors over the years, we've been confident in the numbers we've reported to the government. We're pleased that OSHA reached the same conclusion today."

Workers at the cited Amazon warehouses, which the company calls "fulfillment centers," have complained of a grueling pace, uncomfortable heat and the potential for injury.

Congress members Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren also sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy Thursday over the company's "reported failure to improve structural safety at the facility following its deadly December 2021 collapse," which left six people dead after a tornado pummeled the facility.

"Amazon has a responsibility to make the modest investments necessary to ensure that workers in its Edwardsville facility are protected from future disasters," the letter read.

"Your company's reported decision to rebuild the Edwardsville warehouse to the same condition as when six workers died there last year suggests that you are once again putting your profits over workers' safety," the lawmakers wrote.

In response the letter, Nantel said: "Over the last year, we've worked with our team, the community, and everyone affected by the tragic storms to support them and get stronger together. As part of that effort, we've strengthened our emergency response plans and tailored them to meet the specific needs of individual sites, increased the frequency of emergency drills for employees and partners, and reevaluated the severe weather assembly area locations in many of our facilities to ensure they meet not only OSHA requirements but also FEMA guidance, which is the most stringent and comprehensive."

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