OSHA proposes additional $60,000 in fines for Amazon facilities in New York, Chicago and Florida

OSHA has proposed a $60,269 fine to Amazon after it found injury lists at three warehouses putting workers at “high risk of lower back injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.”

The warehouses in this part of OSHA’s Amazon.com investigation were in Waukegan, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago; New Windsor, New York, about an 80-minute drive north of Harlem; and Deltona, half an hour south on Interstate 4 from Orlando.

“Each of these inspections revealed work processes designed for speed but not for safety, and they resulted in serious injuries to workers,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said. . “While Amazon has developed impressive systems to ensure that its customers’ orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, the company has failed to show the same level of commitment to protect the safety and well-being of its workers.”

Inspectors from the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety Health Administration blamed the higher injury rate on the “high frequency with which workers must lift packages and other objects; the heavy weight of the items; awkward postures, such as twisting, bending, and long reaches when lifting; and the long hours required to complete assigned tasks.

Once a business receives an OSHA citation, it has 15 business days to pay the proposed fine; challenge violations; or request an informal meeting with the Regional Director.

“We take the safety and health of our employees very seriously, and we strongly disagree with these allegations and intend to appeal,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said. “We have cooperated fully and the government’s allegations do not reflect the reality of security at our sites. Over the past few months, we’ve demonstrated how hard we work every day to mitigate risk and protect our employees, and our publicly available data shows we’ve reduced injury rates by nearly 15% between 2019 and 2021. »

The Deltona plant was also cited for exposing workers to collision risks “to the extent that the merchandise was improperly stacked and/or unsecured to prevent them from collapsing/moving.

This comes from the PDF containing the Citation and Notification of Penalty documents for each installation. Three other warehouses – Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Castleton, New York – are also under investigation.

OSHA cited these six Amazon facilities in December for failing to report workplace injuries, not reporting them in a timely manner, or misclassifying injuries. This included an injury at the Waukegan warehouse that was only recorded as “Strain”. The slightest injury was neck muscle fatigue. The the main injury was a head injury from a PIT harness hook.

The 14 record-keeping citations resulted in proposed fines of $29,008.

“Our concern is that nothing will be done to prevent an injury from happening again if it is not even recorded in the logbook, which – in a company the size of Amazon – could have significant consequences. for a lot of workers,” Parker said.

In each case, Amazon can reduce the proposed fines through workplace adjustments, including hiring more staff to make it easier to manually move bulky goods.

“The safety of our employees is our top priority, and we invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year to ensure we have a robust safety program to protect them,” Nantel said. “Accurate record keeping is a critical part of this program and while we recognize that there may have been a small number of administrative errors over the years, we are confident in the numbers we have reported. to the government. »

“We are reviewing OSHA’s allegations and are pleased that OSHA has acknowledged that all alleged violations are ‘other than serious’ and involve minor violations.”

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