Amazon faces further fines in the US over worker injuries

Amazon has been cited by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over hazardous conditions at a warehouse in the latest staff welfare case against the company.

OSHA said that workers at Amazon’s Logan Township, New Jersey distribution centre suffered bodily stress as a result of their job, leading to muscular disorders and back injuries. The workplace safety regulator also said that Amazon failed to ensure that injured staff received adequate treatment.

The regulator has recommended the maximum fine allowed under US law of $15,625. The company has 15 days to pay the fine or appeal to a review board.

OSHA has handed Amazon around $150,000 in fines this calendar year for allegedly creating hazardous working conditions or failing to record work-related injuries at warehouses in the US.

Several hundred miles away in St. Louis, Missouri, a worker advocacy group has filed a complaint with OSHA on behalf of staff at an Amazon warehouse, alleging that the company imposes unsafe work rates and that workers have been mistreated by in-house medical staff.

A spokesperson for the group said: "OSHA's own prior citations show a pattern of safety violations throughout Amazon's warehouse network, a pattern which is unfortunately reflected in our own experiences.”

A spokesperson for Amazon reacted by citing internal surveying of staff: "The vast majority of employees at this facility say in anonymous surveys that they feel safe at work and believe their managers are always looking for ways to enhance safety further.”

They added that OSHA inspectors are welcomed at the Missouri warehouse which, they said, has a lower-than-average injury rate.

Amazon is routinely accused of putting profit over employee wellbeing globally. This has led to workers in some markets such as the US, UK, France and Germany going on strike. In 2022, more than 2,600 workers at a Staten Island, New York warehouse voted to unionise after years of campaigning.
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