The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Wednesday that it was hitting Amazon with a series of fines after investigating the online retailer’s workplace safety practices at three warehouses in Florida, Illinois and New York.
The agency found Amazon employees were at a “high risk” of lower-back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, which officials attributed to the fast work pace in Amazon facilities. Workers at a warehouse in Florida were also in danger of being struck by heavy products that weighed more than 50 pounds, officials said.
In a letter warning Amazon of certain hazards, the agency noted that several workers had been injured at the Florida facility, including one who was hit in the face with a 61-pound piece of furniture and another whose hand was smashed by a bedframe.
Amazon has continued to ignore health and safety standards.Doug Parker, head of OSHA
Doug Parker, the head of OSHA, said on a call with reporters Wednesday that the e-commerce company had developed “impressive systems” to get customers their orders as fast as possible but had “failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its workers.”
“Unfortunately, Amazon has continued to ignore health and safety standards,” he said.
Amazon said it disputes the citations and intends to appeal them. “The government’s allegations don’t reflect the reality of safety at our sites,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement.
“[T]he vast majority of our employees tell us they feel our workplace is safe,” Nantel said. “We look forward to sharing more during our appeal about the numerous safety innovations, process improvements, and investments we’re making to further reduce injuries.”
Workplace safety penalties by statute are notoriously small, and the fines levied against Amazon amount to just $60,269. Officials