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February 7, 2023

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Amazon facing health and safety fines after government inspections in US

The health and safety processes of retail giant Amazon have come under scrutiny in the US.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has said the company has failed to keep workers safe and has issued hazard alert letters following inspections at three warehouses.

The Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said workers at facilities in Deltona, Florida, Waukegan, Illinois and New Windsor, New York were exposed to “ergonomic hazards” that put them at high risk for lower back injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.

After inspections in July and August, it said the workers were assigned tasks which required them to lift heavy packages and other items in “awkward postures” such as twisting, bending and long reaches for long hours.

OSHA also reviewed on-site injury logs required by OSHA and discovered that Amazon warehouse workers experienced high rates of musculoskeletal disorders, such as sprains, strains and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Amazon faces a total of $60,269 in proposed fines for these violations.

Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said: “Each of these inspections found work processes that were designed for speed but not safety, and they resulted in serious worker injuries.

“While Amazon has developed impressive systems to make sure its customers’ orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, the company has failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its workers.
“Our hope is that the findings of our investigations inspire Amazon and other warehouses to make the safety and health of their workers a core value.”

Amazon, which is the second-largest employer in the U.S., behind Walmart, also received a separate citation for exposing workers at its Deltona warehouse to being struck by falling boxes of merchandise.

In December 2022, OSHA additionally cited Amazon for 14 recordkeeping violations as part of the same investigation.  

Speaking to CNBC Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the company disagrees with the agency’s decisions and intends to appeal.

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Neil Belson
Neil Belson
1 year ago

$60,269? That’s peanuts to Amazon.

Marcus Hill
Marcus Hill
1 year ago

Sadly, Not a level of fine that will give Amazon cause to pause and reflect on their working practices. I wonder what the fine would be if the same/similar offences were detected in the UK?

Gareth Broughton
Gareth Broughton
1 year ago

These are just citations. I’d be surprised if the company appealed them as the cost of the appeal to them would be vastly more I suspect than paying the fines. A bit like fee for intervention of course, and an amazing parallel……between OSHA and HSE. I wonder where our Government got this idea from, not to mention defunding and other shabby treatment HSE has been getting from Government since 2010.

mark stephenson
mark stephenson
1 year ago

I’m a bit confused, why do think this is parallels to the HSE’s FFI?, FFI is a fixed hourly rate its not a citation equivalent.