WASHINGTON — An ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that Amazon failed to provide adequate medical treatment for traumatic and chronic injuries at a fulfillment center in Castleton, New York.
OSHA determined that the company failed to ensure injured employees received proper medical care. At least six employees with head injuries and four with back injuries did not receive timely, necessary medical care. Injured workers were returned to their jobs and, in many cases, their injuries became worse as a result.
The agency put Amazon on notice previously about deficient on-site medical practices. OSHA issued a Hazard Alert Letter on this issue in January 2016 after an investigation at a Robbinsville, New Jersey, fulfillment facility. A similar warning was delivered to Amazon more recently – in January 2023 – after OSHA identified deficiencies in on-site medical practices in Deltona, Florida.
“The work at these fulfillment facilities is physically demanding. 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,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “The examples uncovered by our investigation demonstrate a callous disregard for the well-being of Amazon’s Castleton employees that is completely unacceptable.”
OSHA has proposed $15,625 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute.
The latest findings are part of an ongoing inspection started at Amazon’s upstate New York fulfillment center in August 2022, based on a referral from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that led OSHA to open inspections in Castleton and at five other Amazon warehouse facilities in Florida, Illinois, New York, Colorado and Idaho in summer 2022.
Currently, OSHA has 20 open inspections at Amazon locations in the U.S.
In February 2023, OSHA cited the Castleton location for ergonomic violations, just weeks after the agency cited Amazon in December 2022 for recordkeeping violations there.
This marks the fourth time in 2023 that OSHA has cited Amazon for violations, including citations issued on Jan. 18, 2023, Feb. 1, 2023 and Feb. 23, 2023, for violations at seven warehouse facilities in Castleton, Deltona and in Aurora and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York.
Amazon has 15 business days from receipt of the current citations and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.