Amazon was cited on Wednesday, February 1, for exposing their workers to unsafe conditions and ergonomic hazards by the Department of Labor. These exposures were reported at three separate warehouses, namely in Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Castleton, New York.
The company faces up to $46,875 in penalties for the violations listed in the citation.
Amazon is no stranger to safety citations like these; this is the third penalty they’ve faced in the past two months. On January 18th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a citation for ergonomic hazard exposure at the Amazon warehouses in New Windsor, New York; Waukegan, Illinois; and Deltona, Florida. In December, the e-retail giant was cited for failing to record injuries and illnesses within the required time, if they were reported at all.
These violations are only the most recent in a long line of failures that OSHA has flagged in the past year.
The 2023 citations come as a response to the inspections that OSHA conducted on the Amazon facilities after the department received referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in July 2022.
When Amazon was contacted for a comment, they disagreed with OSHA’s findings. Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said they don’t “reflect the reality of safety at our sites.”
Despite the mega retailer’s arguments, multiple studies conducted by the Strategic Organizing Center, including one in 2021 and another in 2022, have pointed to the company’s “obsession with speed” as one of the causes of high injury rates at Amazon warehouses and among delivery workers. One of these studies found that nearly one in five delivery drivers were injured while on the job in 2021, a near 40% increase over 2020 numbers.
But Amazon’s habit of putting workers in danger has a far longer history. In a study conducted by Washington state’s Department of Labor and Industries and reported by Insider, strains and sprains were four times as common at Amazon warehouses throughout the period between 2013 and 2021. This data was based on the number of accepted musculoskeletal disorder worker’s compensation claims in the state.
Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, can chronically affect muscles, bones, and joints–often for life. The high rates at which Amazon warehouse employees are experiencing MSDs can be attributed to the repetitive motions that many are subjected to, alongside the constant uncomfortable postures and demand for speed.
Common musculoskeletal disorders affecting Amazon warehouse workers include:
Lower back injuries
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Rotator cuff injuries
This is far from the first time that Amazon has been cited for endangering their workers, and unfortunately it will most likely not be the last. Our work injury lawyers are committed to protecting the safety of warehouse workers and delivery drivers who work day in and day out to support their families and their futures.
This is only one of many citations that Amazon has been served. We will follow the company’s response to this recent violation and look forward to helping the affected workers get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Read more news articles and learn more about Amazon’s dangerous practices:
- Workplace Accidents