OSHA investigates Amazons in upstate New York for ‘severe worker injuries’

An Amazon warehouse in the Hudson Valley is part of an investigation into “serious injuries to workers”.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Amazon for failing to keep workers safe at three warehouses, including one in the Hudson Valley.

Hudson Valley Amazon failed to ensure worker safety, OSHA

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Storage facilities are located in New Windsor, New York; Deltona, Florida; and Waukegan, Illinois.

Danger warning letters were sent to all three locations.

According to OSHA, workers in these camps were “exposed to ergonomic hazards.”

OSHA says:

OSHA investigators found that Amazon warehouse workers are at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders due to the high frequency with which workers must lift packages and other items; the heavy weight of the items; awkward postures such as twisting, bending, and lifting long distances; and long hours required to complete assigned tasks. OSHA also reviewed OSHA-required on-site injury records and found that Amazon warehouse workers had high rates of MSDs.

Amazon workers in New Windsor, New York face danger

OSHA cited the company for violating the general mandatory clause in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires employers to provide safe workplaces, officials say.

“Each of these inspections found work processes designed for speed but not safety, and resulted in serious injuries to workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “While Amazon has developed impressive systems to ensure its customers’ orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, the company has not shown the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its employees.”

On or about July 18, 2022, and at times thereafter, employees at the Amazon warehouse at 500 Hudson Valley Avenue in New Windsor were exposed to ergonomic hazards that OSHA has identified as causing or likely to cause musculoskeletal disorders.

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“During the induct feeder/induct belt loader process path, workers had to grip, twist and bend while repeatedly lifting packages from the bottom and top of go-carts or gaylords onto the induct belts at high frequency, placing them at risk for lower back injuries,” states OSHA.

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Similar investigations are underway at three other Amazon locations, including Castleton, New York, officials note.

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Amazon faces proposed penalties totaling $60,269 for these violations.

Amazon has 15 business days to comply, request an informal meeting with OSHA’s area director, or challenge the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Audit Commission.

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“We hope the results of our research will inspire Amazon and other warehouses to make the safety and health of their employees a core value,” Parker added.

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