US regulators have found that three Amazon warehouse facilities exposed workers to “ergonomic hazards”, including putting them at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Amazon faces a total of $60,269 in proposed penalties for these violations.
The investigators found Amazon warehouse workers at high risk for lower back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders related to the high frequency with which workers are required to lift packages and other items; the heavy weight of the items; awkward postures, such as twisting, bending and long reaches while lifting; and long hours required to complete assigned tasks.
OSHA also reviewed on-site injury logs and discovered that Amazon warehouse workers experienced high rates of musculoskeletal disorders.
“Each of these inspections found work processes that were designed for speed but not safety, and they resulted in serious worker injuries,” said Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.
While Amazon has developed impressive systems to make sure its customers’ orders are shipped efficiently and quickly, “the company has failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its workers”, Parker said in a statement.
In December 2022, OSHA cited Amazon for 14 record-keeping violations as part of the same investigation.
Amazon has been given 15 days to comply with the order.
A company spokesperson said they “take the safety and health of our employees very seriously, and we strongly disagree with these allegations and intend to appeal”.