Amazon continues its dominance in the marketplace. Fast and often free deliveries have brought the company to seemingly unprecedented prominence. However, that rise to success may have come at a cost.
In response to numerous accusations of unsafe work conditions, The U.S. Department of Labor decided to investigate the methods behind the top e-tailer’s success. Inspections occurred last July in multiple facilities in Florida, Illinois, and New York.
Troubling findings uncovered
Their findings revealed workers exposed to various hazards, with many suffering injuries in what they found to be unsafe working conditions. Specific results showed ergonomic hazards that put staff at risk of severe musculoskeletal injuries.
In North America, ergonomics are also known as human factors. The specific branch of science strives to understand both human abilities and limitations. From there, the findings are applied to improve employees’ interaction with products, systems, and environments.
Their findings included significant frequencies of workers mandated to lift packages and other items. Singled out was the Florida warehouse for workers exposed to “struck-by hazards.”
Specifically, OSHA noted the significant weight levels lifted and what is deemed as “awkward” movements that include long reaches, bending, and twisting. All inspections revealed the priority of speed over safety, resulting in workers injured on the job. Onsite injury logs showed significant rates of musculoskeletal disorders.
Citations with serious consequences
In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to three warehouses for falling short of keeping their employees safe in the workplace. Amazon faces more than $60,000 in proposed penalties with additional options that include complying within 15 business days, requesting an informal conference, or contesting the findings before OSHA’s Review Commission.
No one can discount the significant success that Amazon has enjoyed. The company has changed the way consumers make purchases. However, their prominence may have come at a considerable cost, specifically the health of their workers.