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Lawmakers seek inspections by OSHA at Amazon facilities

Amazon has reshaped the way customers purchase goods and has built numerous warehouses to keep pace with customer demand. However, there are concerns about the well-being of its employees throughout the country, including future Missouri workers at the soon-to-be-completed facility.  Several lawmakers have written to the  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to request an investigation of the working conditions at Amazon facilities. 

Recently, during the company's annual Prime Day sale -- this year a two-day event that allowed Prime members an opportunity to purchase selected items at reduced prices -- workers at one facility held a work-stoppage to protest working conditions. Some of the grievances included the expectation to walk an estimated 10 miles during a shift, the strain of repetitively lifting heavy objects and minimum rest breaks. The letter from lawmakers requests that OSHA officials conduct inspections to address the fears that company policies lead to the risk of serious employee injuries.

Amazon was included on a list of worst companies in the latest National Council for Occupational Safety and Health's 2019 "Dirty Dozen," for its purported failure to safeguard employees health and safety. There have been 13 deaths reported for the company since 2013. According to public reports, Amazon operates approximately 100 warehouses and has been subjected to 150 inspections. Of those, 41 resulted in violations. Lawmakers allege that Amazon does not fully comply with injury notification requirements and that employees have suffered serious injuries such as bone fractures and amputations.

Company officials dispute the allegations and claim it has invested an estimated $55 million in safety upgrades for workers. Officials further stated that one lawmaker who signed the letter toured a facility and did not express any concerns. OSHA has not publicly responded to the letter. Regardless of the employer, Missouri workers are entitled to a safe working environment. If one suffers a work-related injury or illness, he or she may benefit from the assistance of an attorney who routinely files successful claims for maximum allowable benefits with the workers' compensation program.

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