On December 16, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it issued citations to Amazon for 14 recordkeeping violations at six warehouse facilities in five states for failing to properly record work-related injuries and illnesses. Investigations are ongoing, according to OSHA.
The agency received referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and opened inspections on July 18 at Amazon locations in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York, as well as on August 1 at locations in Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Castleton, New York.
Violations included failing to record injuries and illnesses, misclassifying injuries and illnesses, not recording injuries and illnesses within the required time, and not providing OSHA with timely injury and illness records. OSHA proposed penalties totaling $29,008.
While OSHA’s investigations at the six warehouses are ongoing, the agency issued the recordkeeping citations December 15 to ensure they were issued within six months, as federal law requires.
“Solving health and safety problems in the workplace requires injury and illness records to be accurate and transparent,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in an agency statement.
“Our concern is that nothing will be done to keep an injury from recurring if it isn’t even recorded in the logbook, which–in a company the size of Amazon–could have significant consequences for a large number of workers,” Parker added.
Earlier this year, OSHA issued hazard alert letters to Amazon and three of its contractors after six workers were fatally injured and another severely injured when a December 10, 2021, tornado struck Amazon’s Edwardsville, Illinois, warehouse.
The agency concluded that workers at the warehouse were unaware of tornado shelter locations, and the facility had not conducted shelter-in-place drills. OSHA required Amazon and its contractors to review their severe weather emergency procedures.
Parker responds to increased fatal injuries
On December 16, Parker also issued a statement following a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that fatal workplace injuries increased in 2021.
“Today’s announcement by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of a one-year increase of nearly 9 percent in fatal work injuries serves as call to action for OSHA, employers, and other stakeholders to redouble our collective efforts to make our nation’s workplaces safer,” Parker said.
The fatal work injury rate in 2021 was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers—up from 3.4 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2020 and up from the 2019 pre-pandemic rate of 3.5, according to the BLS’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) released December 16. The 3.6 fatal occupational injury rate in 2021 also was the highest annual rate since 2016, according to the BLS.
“In 2021, 5,190 workers suffered fatal work injuries, equating to one worker death in the U.S. every 101 minutes, including 653 Black workers, whose fatality rate hit an all-time high. Black and Latino workers also had fatality rates disproportionately higher than their co-workers in 2021,” Parker said in another agency statement. “These are deeply troubling facts.”