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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Amazon Cited by OSHA for NJ Warehouse Safety Violations

A federal workplace safety investigation has again found workers at an Amazon fulfillment center exposed to ergonomic hazards, this time at a Logan Township facility. 

Responding to a complaint, inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation in January 2023. They found the company exposed employees to ergonomic hazards capable of causing serious physical harm. Inspectors found Amazon required employees to perform tasks leading to bodily stress that had caused, were causing and were likely to cause musculoskeletal disorders. These findings led OSHA to issue a citation for particular ergonomic hazards, propose $15,625 in penalties, and issue a Hazard Alert Letter regarding additional ergonomic hazards. 

During its investigation, OSHA also learned that Amazon failed to use established controls to ensure injured employees received proper medical care. The agency issued a second Hazard Alert Letter for this medical treatment failure, a concern found in other Amazon facilities in Deltona, Florida, in January 2023 and Castleton, New York, in April 2023.

"The work done by Amazon employees in the company’s fulfillment centers is physically demanding, which makes the availability of proper medical care extremely important," said OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton, New Jersey. "Amazon needs to do more to protect the safety and health of its employees, including implementation of a companywide strategy to address well-known and preventable hazards.”

Currently, the department has 18 open federal inspections at Amazon locations in the U.S.

This marks the sixth time in 2023 that OSHA has cited Amazon for violations, including citations issued on April 27, April 18, Feb. 23, Feb. 1 and Jan. 18, for violations at eight warehouse facilities in Castleton, Deltona and in Aurora and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; Waukegan, Illinois; Bayonne, New Jersey; and New Windsor, New York.

Amazon has 15 business days from receipt of the current citations and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Related article: Warehouse Workers' Injuries Are Increasing as Employers Use Artificial Intelligence 

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ, is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters