Amazon has succeeded in becoming a giant in the e-commerce business. The company boasts that it has more than 1,000 safety and health professionals at their fulfillment centers in North America. A spokesperson for the company has claimed that safety is its number one priority and that each incident of a workplace injury involves a review of practices and protocols to ensure the well-being of Amazon’s employees.
Amazon’s accident and injury records are not nearly as positive as its record of business expansion and profit-making. Moreover, its record of injuries and fatalities is getting worse. In the past five years, there were seven fatalities at Amazon warehouses. Some employees were crushed by forklifts, conveyor belts, or pallet loaders. Others were hit by vehicles. One 29-year-old employee died of a heart attack after his overnight shift.
Robots in Warehouses
Recently, an automated robot pierced a canister of bear repellant exposing dozens of workers to capsaicin at a New Jersey warehouse. The compound is an irritant and causes difficulty breathing as well as burning throat and eyes. Over 50 employees were exposed in the incident and a number of them required treatment at a hospital. This was the second time Amazon had an incident of exposing workers to bear repellent.
Amazon owns a patent on an employee tracking device to be worn by a worker that buzzes them if they make a wrong move. The device has insidious undertones. Some argue that Amazon is going to extremes to treat employees like fleshy robots. At the same time, Amazon is seeking to replace workers with robots.
Amazon Makes List of Dirty Dozen Employers
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) is an umbrella organization dedicated to the betterment of workplace safety and health. Among other things, it tracks performance of employers in the protection of the safety and health of workers and communities. Each year National COSH prepares a Dirty Dozen list of employers who put workers and communities at risk.
Criteria for the Dirty Dozen include severity of injuries experienced by workers, exposure to recognized hazards, and repeat violations of safety and health laws. Due to its track record of repeated violations of safety and health laws, as well as its high rate of workplace fatalities, Amazon has been identified as one of National COSH’s dirty dozen employers.
Safety and Health Inspections Help Workers and Employers
National COSH notes that a lack of regular safety inspections puts workers at risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency tasked with performing workplace inspections. OSHA’s budget has been slashed in the past few years. This despite research findings that regular and random safety inspections can save employers money as well as improve worker safety and health.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Injured Warehouse Workers
If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and health expenses. To discuss your rights regarding Workers’ Compensation benefits, call Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. today at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 to arrange a free consultation with a seasoned Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer. You can also contact us online.
We assist injured workers across South Carolina, including those in the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.