Warehouse work poses many risks of injury.
We have noted this before in this blog, most recently in a two-part piece about six weeks ago. In our April 30 post, we took note of the multiple hazards that are present in warehouse settings. And in our May 2 post, we discussed one of those hazards – forklift injuries – in detail.
In today’s post, we will update you on an investigation by federal regulatory officials into the deaths of two workers at warehouses run by Amazon.com, the huge online retailer.
One of the deaths that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating occurred earlier this month in Pennsylvania. The other happened late last year in New Jersey when a worker who was sorting packages got crushed by a conveyor system.
Because of the sheer size of Amazon, the OSHA investigation into these deaths has implications for workplace safety in Colorado and across the country.
Amazon has been trying to build up its distribution capacity throughout the nation in order to speed up delivery times to consumers. It has spent billions of dollars on opening new facilities.
As of the end of 2012, there were 89 Amazon warehouses in the U.S., with more planned. These facilities are of course especially busy during the holiday season, as the mammoth retailer races to fulfill the annual uptick in orders around that time.
That fulfillment race can put warehouse workers at risk of injury not only during the holidays, but all year round. The OSHA investigation into the two deaths is a stark reminder of that fundamental fact.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Amazon Workplace Faces Safety Scrutiny After 2 Deaths,” Adam Satariano, June 16, 2014