The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced Wednesday that it was hitting Amazon with a sequence of fines after investigating the net retailer’s office security practices at three warehouses in Florida, Illinois and New York.
The company discovered Amazon workers had been at a “high risk” of lower-back accidents and different musculoskeletal problems, which officers attributed to the quick work tempo in Amazon amenities. Workers at a warehouse in Florida had been additionally in peril of being struck by heavy merchandise that weighed greater than 50 kilos, officers mentioned.
In a letter warning Amazon of sure hazards, the company famous that a number of staff had been injured on the Florida facility, together with one who was hit within the face with a 61-pound piece of furnishings and one other whose hand was smashed by a bedframe.
“Amazon has continued to ignore health and safety standards.”
– Doug Parker, head of OSHA
Doug Parker, the pinnacle of OSHA, mentioned on a name with reporters Wednesday that the e-commerce firm had developed “impressive systems” to get prospects their orders as quick as attainable however had “failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its workers.”
“Unfortunately, Amazon has continued to ignore health and safety standards,” he mentioned.
Amazon mentioned it disputes the citations and intends to enchantment them. “The government’s allegations don’t reflect the reality of safety at our sites,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, mentioned in an announcement.
“[T]he vast majority of our employees tell us they feel our workplace is safe,” Nantel mentioned. “We look forward to sharing more during our appeal about the numerous safety innovations, process improvements, and investments we’re making to further reduce injuries.”
Workplace security penalties by statute are notoriously small, and the fines levied in opposition to Amazon quantity to only $60,269. Officials didn’t deem Amazon’s violations to be “repeat” or “willful,” which might have include a better price ticket. Fines could be litigated for years and are sometimes negotiated downward within the course of.
OSHA has no particular security commonplace for ergonomics, so the company cited Amazon beneath what’s often known as the “general duty” clause. That catch-all clause says that employers have a basic obligation to maintain their staff secure from hurt. OSHA usually makes use of it when investigators imagine an employer has uncovered staff to repetitive-motion accidents as a result of a number of lifting, bending and pulling.
OSHA makes use of a measure often known as DART – “days away, restricted or transferred” – to mirror the variety of incidents leading to somebody lacking work. Parker mentioned the DART fee in Amazon amenities in 2021 was close to twice the speed for the overall warehousing trade: 9.0, in comparison with 4.7. He mentioned the DART fee on the Florida facility OSHA not too long ago inspected was 15.0, or greater than 3 times the speed of the trade basically.
The retailer’s warehouses have drawn intense scrutiny from regulators and politicians not too long ago. California and New York not too long ago handed legal guidelines aimed toward cracking down on the anticipated productiveness charges in its amenities, saying they result in damage.
Amazon’s Nantel mentioned the corporate “take[s] the safety and health of our employees very seriously.” In 2021, Amazon announced that it partnered with the non-profit National Safety Council to cut back musculoskeletal accidents.
The current OSHA inspections started with a referral from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which is investigating the security requirements and tempo of labor at Amazon. In December, OSHA cited Amazon for failing to document accidents at its warehouses correctly.
The firm was fined $29,008 for the violations. However, it mentioned it plans to enchantment these as properly.