Amazon Under the Spotlight for Unsafe Working Conditions

Source: Ken Walter - 123RF

The Guardian has launched an investigation into reported unsafe working conditions at Amazon’s warehouses that reveals numerous cases of workers being treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work, or bereft of income after workplace accidents.

The online retail giant’s customers are served by over 140 fulfillment centers across the US.

The investigation has revealed numerous cases of Amazon workers suffering from workplace accidents or injuries in its gigantic warehouse system and being treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income.

There are numerous reports from Amazon workers of being improperly treated after an avoidable work injury. Amazon’s warehouses were listed on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s “dirty dozen” list of most dangerous places to work in the United States in April 2018.

According to the list, seven workers have been killed at Amazon warehouses since 2013 – including three workers within five weeks at three separate locations in 2017.

In April 2018, 43-year-old Bryan Hill of Seffner, Florida filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging managers fired him for hurting his back on the job and failed to file a workers compensation claim once his injury was reported.

According to the lawsuit, Hill was told by a manager he was too young to have back problems, and he was fired before Amazon Human Resources would authorize a doctor visit.

At an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Pennsylvania, one former employee was fired five weeks after getting injured on the job.

Other Amazon employees reportedly succumb to the fatigue and exhaustion of the fulfillment center work environment and quit before getting injured.

Amazon, meanwhile, insists that ensuring the safety of its workers is a priority and that it was “proud” of its record. Company spokesperson, Melanie Etches said, “Amazon has created over 130,000 jobs in the last year alone and now employs over 560,000 people around the world. Ensuring the safety of these associates is our number one priority,” also pointing to the firm’s Safety Leadership Program as an example of being proactive on the issue.