The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Amazon after finding workers exposed to ergonomic hazards at three warehouse facilities, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Jan. 20.
The warehouse facilities under investigation are located in in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York, the department said. Amazon could potentially face fines totaling $60,269 for these violations.
OSHA officials cited the company for violations of the “general duty clause” in the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, which generally requires companies to keep workers safe. The department also cited Amazon for allegedly exposing workers at the Florida warehouse to struck-by hazards.
“OSHA investigators found Amazon warehouse workers at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders related to the high frequency with which workers are required to lift packages and other items; the heavy weight of the items; awkward postures, such as twisting, bending and long reaches while lifting; and long hours required to complete assigned tasks,” the department said in a statement. “OSHA also reviewed on-site injury logs required by OSHA and discovered that Amazon warehouse workers experienced high rates of musculoskeletal disorders.”
Similar investigations are ongoing at Amazon locations in Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Castleton, New York.
Amazon has 15 business days after receiving the citations and proposed penalties to either comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before an OSHA committee.
“Each of these inspections found work processes that were designed for speed but not safety, and they resulted in serious worker injuries,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “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.”