Amazon failed to record some warehouse injuries

Amazon failed to record some warehouse injuries

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon has failed to properly record work-related injuries at warehouses in five states, a federal agency said Friday, announcing that it has issued more than a dozen subpoenas in the course of its ongoing investigation into the company.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it issued 14 subpoenas during inspections over the summer at six Amazon warehouses in New York, Florida, Illinois, Colorado and Idaho.

The citations included failure to record or misclassify injuries and illnesses, failure to record them within the required time, and failure to provide the agency with a “timely” record of such matters, OSHA said. The e-commerce giant, which made over $33 billion last year, faces around $29,000 in fines.

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a prepared statement the company is investing millions in a “robust safety program” to protect workers.

“Accurate record keeping is a critical element of this program and while we recognize that there may have been a small number of administrative errors over the years, we are confident in the numbers we have reported to the government,” said Nantel and Adding that the company was pleased, OSHA acknowledged that “all alleged violations are ‘other than serious’ and include minor violations.”

Seattle-based Amazon has long been criticized for its work injury rates, which the company itself has acknowledged are in some cases above industry averages. Earlier this year, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company’s data shows that injury rates among its delivery and courier workers are below average, but injury rates among its warehouse workers are higher than those of its peers.

Labor and safety experts have criticized how the company tracks the productivity of workers wrapping and stowing packages, saying the warehouses’ fast-paced environment could contribute to higher injury rates. Amazon has said it doesn’t have productivity ratings and only rates its employees in relation to their peers.

The quotes are from references made to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in New York, said the bureau’s civil division and OHSA have been investigating potential workplace safety at Amazon warehouses and “possible fraudulent behavior to hide violations from OSHA and others.” Prosecutors have encouraged former and current Amazon employees to report security issues directly to them.

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