A citation issued by federal safety regulators says the online retailer failed to report at least 26 work-related illnesses and injuries at a New Jersey warehouse.
The company is facing a $7,000 fine and orders that it make changes in the wake of a multi-month inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The agency found Amazon did not report workplace injuries and did not supply protective equipment to workers, who were exposed to dangers including amputation.
"We take safety very seriously, we do not agree with the findings and will be contesting the citation," said Aaron Toso, a spokesperson for Amazon, in an email.
Amazon has had a litany of labor issues and complaints related to conditions at its warehouses. One temporary worker was crushed to death in late 2013 after getting stuck between a conveyor system while sorting packages in Avenel, New Jersey. Another fatality came in mid 2014 at an Amazon fulfillment center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
An article in the New York Times in August detailed a workplace where employees with cancer or who had suffered miscarriages were unfairly reviewed or pushed out instead of being given time to recover. Jay Carney, Amazon's chief spokesman, defended the Seattle-based company on "CBS This Morning," calling Amazon an "incredibly compelling place to work."
OSHA said Amazon workers were exposed to stress from repeated bending at the waist working shifts of 10 hours or more, and sometimes including mandatory overtime shifts. "The on-site medical unit provided medical care beyond what is allowed by their licensing and certification, without the supervision of a board certified qualified medical professional licensed to practice independently," the agency said.
Amazon, which has more than 90,000 full-time employees at its more than 50 fulfillment centers and 20 sorting facilities in the U.S., added more than 100,000 additional people for the holiday season.
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