Federal workplace safety investigators are investigating the death of an Amazon worker and an injury that potentially led to the death of another employee, adding to an investigation already underway following a third death during the annual shopping event. The company’s Prime Day in mid-July.
The three Amazon workers died last month and were employed at the company’s New Jersey facility.
New research from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is putting fresh scrutiny on Amazon’s workplace injury rates and safety procedures, which have long been criticized by labor and safety advocates as inadequate.
Department of Labor spokeswoman Denisha Braxton confirmed Thursday that the most recent death took place last week at an Amazon facility in Monroe Township, about 20 miles (35 kilometers) northeast of Trenton. The second investigation is looking into a July 24 accident at an Amazon facility in Robbinsville. The worker involved in that accident died three days later, according to Braxton.
In a statement, Robbinsville Police Chief Michael Polaski said police responded to the warehouse, called PNE5, on July 24 after receiving a report that a worker fell from a three-foot ladder. and hit his head.
Polaski said the worker was conscious and alert when police arrived. But police were told that other workers performed CPR on the person before they arrived, he said. The person was transported to a hospital and OSHA was notified of the incident the same day, he added.
Monroe Township police did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the incident there.
The two most recent deaths were first reported by the USA Today Network.
OSHA officials declined to provide additional information on any of the deaths, citing open investigations. The agency has up to six months to complete each investigation.
Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon, said in a statement that the company was “deeply saddened by the passing of our colleagues and offer our condolences to their family and friends.”
“Our investigations are ongoing and we are cooperating with OSHA, which is conducting its own event reviews, as it often does in these situations,” Stephenson said.
Last month, OSHA launched another investigation into the death of a worker at an Amazon warehouse in Carteret, New Jersey, during the company’s Prime Day shopping event, which turned out to be the largest in the history of the company. company. Federal authorities have not released additional details about the death, but news reports identified the worker as Rafael Reynaldo Mota Frías, 42.
An Amazon spokesman said the company’s internal investigation into Carteret’s death shows “it was not a work-related incident, but was related to a personal medical condition.”
“OSHA is currently investigating the incident, and based on the evidence currently available to us, we expect it to come to the same conclusion,” the spokesperson said.
News of the deaths comes amid broader scrutiny of the company’s operations. In late July, OSHA officials inspected Amazon facilities in New York, Illinois and Florida after receiving referrals alleging health and safety violations from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The civil division of the US attorney’s office is also investigating security risks at Amazon warehouses and “fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from OSHA and others,” according to a spokesperson for the office.
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