On January 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor fined Amazon $7,000 for various workplace safety violations at the new fulfillment center located in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
This comes after several workers were killed recently in local Amazon fulfillment centers. In December of 2013, a temporary worker was killed in an Amazon fulfillment center in Avenel, New Jersey. He had been caught in between a conveyor system and crushed while performing sorting operations. As a result of that incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited five companies for serious violations, including four temporary staffing agencies. According to Patricia Jones, director of OSHA’s Avenel office, temp agencies are jointly responsible for the safety and health of their employees. They are legally required to assess the worksite, and ensure that their workers are protected from potential hazards.
In a separate fatal incident that occurred on June 1, 2014, a woman driving a pallet truck at an Amazon fulfillment center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania crashed into shelving and subsequently died of multiple traumatic injuries.
Amazon has been rapidly expanding its network of fulfillment centers in order to keep up with customer demand. In another incident in 2011, workers at a Pennsylvania Amazon warehouse contacted the media in an effort to procure air conditioning after more than a dozen employees passed out inside the poorly ventilated building.
Most recently, OSHA has cited the Robbinsville, New Jersey fulfillment center for allegedly failing to log 26 instances of work-related injuries. During the course of their investigation, OSHA also found that employees were exposed to “ergonomic risks,” including repeated bending at the waist, exertions, and standing during their ten hour shifts for four consecutive days. According to Director of the OSHA’s Marlton office, Paula Dixon-Roderick, these are serious allegations. Failure to properly record occupational injuries can mask patterns that could help uncover conditions that put workers at risk.
During their investigation into conditions at the Robbinsville fulfillment center, OSHA also found that the warehouse’s onsite medical team was providing care to employees outside the scope of their specific licensing and certification.
Workers who are injured due to OSHA safety violations have the right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. If you have been injured because your employer failed to provide you with an adequately safe work environment, the experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help. For a free consultation, call us at 732-532-2011 or contact us online today.