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OSHA hits Amazon with sweep of inspections, citations


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday issued safety citations to Amazon Inc. and issued hazard alert letters after inspections at three warehouses found workers exposed to ergonomic hazards. 

U.S. Department of Labor’s Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said on a conference call Wednesday that the multi-facility investigation at the three warehouses — in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York — is part of “an ongoing nationwide investigation of Amazon,” which has “created hazardous work conditions and processes that are designed for speed” and cause numerous ergonomic injuries for workers.

“Our investigations determined warehouse workers are required to perform tasks at a fast pace, including manually lifting items from trailers, removing packages from a conveyor and stacking them,” he said, adding that the company “requires workers to work in awkward positions that make them prone to injuries; these tasks are performed up to nine times a minute.”

“Amazon has prided itself on being the gold standard of logistics and warehousing, famous for its global operation system that provides fast delivery to customers,” he said. “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.”

Similar investigations at three Amazon locations in Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Castleton, New York; are ongoing, according to OSHA.

Amazon said the allegations don't reflect "the reality of safety" at its sites and it will appeal the citations. 

"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," an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement.