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Supply Chain News: Battle over Safety at Amazon Fulfillment Centers Continues on, with Citations from OSHA at Three Sites



But Amazon Faces just $60,000 in Fines

Jan. 24. 2023


SCDigest Editorial Staff

For many years Amazon critics took aim at a supposed lack of safety at Amazon Fulfillment Centers.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

In December, OSHA issued citations at six other Amazon FCs for failing to adequately report injuries. Amazon disputes the allegations, saying the number of injuries it had reported was accurate.

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For example, last April a report from a union-backed organization alleged workers at Amazon Fulfillment Centers (FCs) are hurt more often than the average worker at other warehouses, based on government data.

The analysis by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) found that rates of serious injury at Amazon FCs was 6.8 per 100 workers, or more than double the rate at non-Amazon warehouses (3.3 per 100). Serious injuries are defined incidents in which workers are hurt enough that they were either unable to perform their regular job functions or were forced to miss work entirely for some period

Around that time, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company’s warehouse injury rates “were a little higher than the average” compared to other warehouses, but lower than average compared to Amazon’s courier and delivery peers. (See Amazon FC Worker get Hurt more Often, Report Claims, as CEO Promises to Reduce Injuries.)

In addition, working conditions have been cited by workers as one reason for attempts to unionize Amazon FCs.

Now, some more ammunition for the Amazon critics, as last week the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it had issued citations Amazon after inspections at fulfillment centers in Florida, Illinois and New York.

OSHA says workers at those facilities were exposed to ergonomic hazards or hazards with equipment. That included performing tasks that could lead to lower back injuries and other muscle-related conditions, according to the citations.

An OSHA executive, took a shot at Amazon’s practices.

(See More Below)





Doug Parker, OSHA’s assistant secretary for occupational safety and health, said that “While Amazon has developed impressive systems to make sure its customers’ orders aren 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,” in a statement coinciding with the citations.

An Amazon spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that said the company would appeal the decisions, which “don’t reflect the reality of safety at our sites.”

Amazon would be fined a rather paltry $60,000 for the citations if it loses its appeal.

In December, OSHA issued citations at six other Amazon FCs for failing to adequately report injuries. Amazon disputes the allegations, saying the number of injuries it had reported was accurate.

Amazon has said it has been working to improve safety, using educational courses and by altering the way it tracks workers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company said it reduced injury rates at its facilities by nearly 15% between 2019 and 2021.

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