Sanders and Omar sent a letter to OSHA last week requesting the federal agency provide Amazon’s injury records for the last three years, saying finding the information “should be quick and easy” because of an OSHA rule that requires businesses to digitally submit data of workplace injuries and illnesses to the agency.
Amazon’s injury records aren’t publicly available, but an investigative report by Reveal that compiled individual records from current and former workers found that in 2018, the overall rate of serious injuries at over two dozen Amazon facilities was more than double the industry average.
According to the data sample published in Reveal’s report, the Amazon warehouse with the highest injury rates was in Troutdale, Oregon, which had opened in August 2018. The facility, which was to bring 1,500 jobs to the town, quickly gained a reputation for injuring workers at an alarming rate, with nearly 26 serious injuries reported for every 100 full-time employees. In 2018, the national average for warehouse injuries was 9.6 serious injuries per 100 employees.
Sanders and Omar had called on OSHA to investigate Amazon’s working conditions earlier this year, but according to the letter they sent on December 19, the agency hadn’t committed to investigating or enforcing violations at Amazon.
OSHA had reportedly inspected the Troutdale warehouse twice in 2018, but records show it issued no citations or fines. The agency has launched a new inspection of the warehouse, in part because of Reveal’s report, sources indicate.
“According to Amazon’s own records, the risk of work injuries at fulfillment centers is alarmingly, unacceptably high,” said David Michaels, former head of OSHA, told the press. “Amazon needs to take a hard look at the facilities where so many workers are being hurt and either redesign the work processes, replace the top managers or both because serious injury rates this high should not be acceptable to any employer.”
Amazon officials declined to comment on Sanders’ and Omar’s letter, but they have previously told the press that the company’s high injury rates were due to its diligent reporting.
“It’s inaccurate to say that Amazon fulfillment centers are unsafe and efforts to paint our workplace as such based solely on a snapshot of injury recordings is misleading given the size of our workforce,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “Ensuring the safety of associates in our building is our number one priority and we invest heavily in safety.”
Employees injured on the job are entitled to benefits that cover lost wages and medical expenses under state workers’ compensation programs. It is crucial for injured workers to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can outline their options and help them obtain their full benefits.
South Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you or your loved one was injured due to a workplace accident, you should hire an attorney. Contact Brian Silber, P.A. for a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced workers’ compensation defense attorneys.