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May 04, 2023
OSHA cites Amazon for delaying treatment of injured workers

Amazon failed to provide adequate medical treatment for traumatic and chronic injuries at a fulfillment center in Castleton-on-Hudson, New York, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency cited the Amazon warehouse for a serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause (§5(a)(1)) and is seeking a proposed $15,625 penalty, OSHA announced April 28.

The agency determined that Amazon failed to ensure injured employees received proper medical care. At least six employees with head injuries and four with back injuries didn’t receive timely medical care.

Those injured at the Amazon ALB1 Fulfillment Center in Castleton-on-Hudson included:

  • An employee who sustained a back injury while lifting a box;
  • An employee who suffered a back injury while pulling cages;
  • An employee who injured their back while pulling heavy items out of a trailer and onto a conveyor belt;
  • An employee who sustained a blunt-force injury when struck in the head by a box containing a 28-pound bench press bar;
  • An employee who was injured by a falling box that struck their head;
  • An employee who was driving an order picker and lost consciousness when the picker came to a stop and slid off the order picker platform, fell 3 to 4 feet, and struck their head on a concrete floor;
  • An employee who was struck in the head and back of the neck by two tables that fell from 15 feet above;
  • An employee who was picking an item at the bottom of a bin, stood up, hit their head, and reported immediate dizziness; and
  • An employee who was moving items with a tugger vehicle, picked up an item off the floor, turned around, and hit their head on a fire hydrant pole.

The injured workers were returned to their duties, and, in many cases, their injuries worsened as a result, according to OSHA.

The agency previously warned the company about inadequate on-site medical practices, issuing a Hazard Alert Letter regarding the issue in January 2016 after an investigation at a Robbinsville, New Jersey, fulfillment facility. The agency issued a similar warning in January 2023 after OSHA identified deficiencies in on-site medical practices in its Deltona, Florida, facility.

The citation findings are part of an ongoing inspection that began at Amazon’s upstate New York fulfillment center in August 2022 based on a referral from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that led OSHA to open inspections in Castleton-on-Hudson and at five other Amazon warehouse facilities in Florida, Illinois, New York, Colorado, and Idaho in summer 2022.

OSHA currently has 20 open inspections at Amazon locations in the United States.

Earlier this year, OSHA cited Amazon for violations at the Castleton-on-Hudson and Deltona warehouses, as well as facilities in Aurora and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; New Windsor, New York; and Waukegan, Illinois.

“The work at these fulfillment facilities is physically demanding. Returning a worker with a back injury or possible concussion to their job without proper medical evaluation and care can lead to prolonged injuries and lifelong suffering,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in an agency statement.

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