Amazon’s Fourth Penalty This Year is For Failing to Give Workers Timely Medical Care
July 7, 2023
A recent news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) contains numerous allegations against Amazon, including the company failed to provide timely, adequate medical care to at least ten workers at a Castleton, New York fulfillment center over a nine-month period from August 2022 to April 2023. Although six of the workers sustained head injuries and four sustained back injuries, Amazon sent them back to work, worsening their injuries. OSHA’s proposed a penalty against the mega retailer.
OSHA’s release says the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) determined that Amazon failed to provide adequate medical treatment to workers for traumatic and chronic injuries they sustained. In many of the cases, the workers’ injuries became worse because the company required them to return to work more quickly than they were able to physically recover. OSHA’s Assistant Secretary, Doug Parker, mentioned that work at fulfillment facilities is already exhausting enough on its own and that “returning a worker with a back injury or possible concussion to their job without proper medical evaluation and care can lead to prolonged injuries and lifelong suffering.”
Amazon Has a History of Health and Safety Failures
This is by no means the first time that Amazon has been in the news for knowingly endangering workers through its lackluster labor practices. Here are examples of these instances:
- A leaked wellness pamphlet (published by the company in 2020) made waves after it referred to warehouse workers as “industrial athletes” and advised them to participate in the company’s “Working Well” program to prepare for walking up to thirteen miles a day and lifting tens of thousands of pounds per shift
- Employees have reported having to relieve themselves in plastic bags or bottles during shifts because they were unable to take breaks
- A worker sustained a serious injury that resulted from a malfunctioning conveyor belt. Although the worker had several herniated discs in their neck, the company expected them to continue working for weeks. After a physician put the employee on light duty work, the company told them there was no longer any work available
- An investigation conducted by The Atlantic and Reveal showed that Amazon workers sustain disproportionately high injury rates, especially around the holiday season. At the company’s fulfillment centers, serious injury incident rates hover around 9.6 per one hundred employees, whereas the injury average is 4 per every one hundred employees.
This most recent citation is the fourth that OSHA has issued against Amazon this year alone. Every year, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health releases its “Dirty Dozen” list, which features the most dangerous jobs and workplaces in the country. Amazon has made its way onto the list four times now.
Were You Injured at Work?
Employers are legally responsible for providing workers with a safe and healthy workplace free from recognized hazards. When a worker sustains a work-related injury or illness, they are entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical benefits and lost wages to injured or ill workers. At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have decades of experience representing injured workers. If you would like to learn more about filing a claim, we can help. Contact a representative online now.
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