Labor Department investigates 2 Amazon worker deaths

Bloomberg NewsJune 14, 2014 

Two workers have died at Amazon.com fulfillment centers since December, according to the Department of Labor, adding to safety questions about the warehouses where packages are shipped to customers.

One man was crushed to death after getting caught between a conveyer system in December 2013 while sorting packages, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday. OSHA cited five companies for violations at the Amazon facility in Avenel, New Jersey, including the contractor responsible for the sorting operation, and four staffing agencies that hired temporary employees to work at the warehouse. Amazon wasn't cited by the government for the death.

OSHA also said that it's investigating a fatality that occurred on June 1 at an Amazon fulfillment center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The incidents show the risks of working at the facilities where everything from electronic gadgets to baby diapers are shipped to millions of customers. Amazon has faced criticism for the treatment of its workers, including from labor unions that have attempted to organize workers at the fulfillment centers.

Mary Osako, a spokeswoman for Amazon, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has been spending heavily to increase the Seattle-based online retailer's network of warehouses. In the first quarter, fulfill

ment expenses climbed 29 percent to $2.3 billion. The company has distribution centers worldwide, including in Beijing and across the U.S. in states such as New Hampshire and Indiana. Construction is underway on a warehouse in Ruskin, just north of the Manatee County line. Plans are in the works for another warehouse in Orlando.

For this past holiday season, Amazon said it was hiring 70,000 full-time seasonal workers for its fulfillment centers.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service