Federal Agencies Put Pressure on Amazon Over Work Conditions

Federal Agencies Put Pressure on Amazon Over Work Conditions
  • Amazon is the second biggest retailer in the world.
  • The company employs more than 1 million Americans.
  • Employees have long complained about the company’s working conditions. 
  • OSHA is carrying out an ongoing investigation into Amazon.

(NewsReady.com) – Amazon has grown from a company that sold used books to the second biggest retailer in the world. The company has warehouses and distribution centers all over the United States. As of February 2022, it employed more than 1 million Americans.

Though the company is growing all the time, it has its fair share of issues. Complaints about the working conditions in its warehouses persist. The federal government has started to crack down on Amazon in an attempt to force the company to adopt safer workplace conditions. In the last three months, the Department of Labor has issued multiple citations to the company.

December 2022

On December 16, the Department of Labor issued a press release announcing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was conducting an ongoing investigation into Amazon. According to the statement, the agency inspected six warehouses in five states and found the company had not properly documented work-related illnesses and injuries.

OSHA issued citations for 14 violations related to recordkeeping. The inspections were on facilities in Waukegan, Illinois; Deltona, Florida; Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; New Windsor, New York; and Castleton, New York. The facilities were accused of misclassifying or not recording injuries and not sending the records to OSHA in a timely manner. The fines related to the citations were more than $29,000.

January 2023

Just over a month after the December citations, OSHA issued another press release about more violations. Three of the facilities that were inspected in December were cited for even more problems. The warehouses in Waukegan, New Windsor, and Deltona reportedly exposed employees to workplace hazards.

Investigators found the employees at the facilities were at high risk of injuring their backs and developing other musculoskeletal problems because the company was requiring them to lift so many heavy packages. Further, the press release stated the employees were subject to “awkward postures, such as twisting, bending and long reaches while lifting; and long hours required to complete assigned tasks.”

After reviewing the records at the facilities, the investigators reported a high rate of injuries. The company was fined $60,269.

February 2023

The latest round of citations came just last month. On February 1, OSHA announced $46,875 in new fines after further investigation into the warehouses in Aurora, Nampa, and Castleton. Again, the company was accused of not providing a safe work environment for its employees.

OSHA found the same problems at these facilities as it had at the ones it issued a press release about in January.

Doug Parker, OSHA’s assistant secretary, said the company’s methods are “creating hazardous work conditions and processes.” He said Amazon needs to begin taking workplace safety seriously to protect its workers.

Until then, it seems OSHA has no plans to stop its probes.

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