Amazon is one of the nation’s most successful companies because consumers in Pennsylvania and around the country like the low prices and convenient shipping options the online retailer offers. It is able to save its customers time and money because it is extremely efficient, but the findings of Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators suggest the cost of that efficiency is sometimes measured in worker injuries. On Jan. 18, OSHA announced that another three Amazon warehouses have been cited for failing to provide employees with a safe working environment.
The warehouses in New York, Florida and Illinois were issued citations for putting workers at risk of suffering musculoskeletal injuries by requiring them to lift heavy objects and complete their assigned tasks quickly. OSHA inspectors say the processes implemented in the facilities were designed to improve speed and efficiency rather than keep workers safe. The workplace safety agency has proposed penalties of $60,269 for the violations, but Amazon is unlikely to pay unless it is given no other choice. A company representative told reporters that the company plans to mount an appeal.
The citations were announced just weeks after inspectors uncovered 14 recordkeeping violations at Amazon facilities in five states. According to OSHA, Amazon either did not report worker injuries or claimed that they were less serious than they actually were. When employers engage in this kind of behavior, it is usually because they wish to avoid official scrutiny or reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims filed by injured employees. OSHA began its investigation into working conditions at Amazon warehouses in July 2022 after being alerted to the problem by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Warehouse employees in Pennsylvania who suffer on-the-job injuries are protected by the state’s workers’ compensation laws. If you are injured in a workplace accident, you will likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if you or your employer acted negligently. Please contact our attorneys to learn more.