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'High risk of serious musculoskeletal disorders': Aurora's Amazon warehouse cited by OSHA

Aurora's Amazon warehouse cited by OSHA
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Posted at 12:25 PM, Feb 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-02 14:28:37-05

AURORA, Colo. — Amazon plans to appeal after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the Aurora warehouse location for unsafe practices.

OSHA's investigation revealed that certain employees "are exposed to a high risk of serious musculoskeletal disorders when routinely working" in conditions that caused them to frequently and awkwardly lift heavy packages, and work for long hours.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2022, the agency began to investigate the location after a referral alleged that "workers face immense pressure to meet pace of work and production quotas at the risk of sustaining musculoskeletal injuries, which are often acute."

The referral also alleged that "injuries may not have been reported, because Amazon’s on-site first-aid clinic (“AmCare”) is not staffed appropriately, which our investigation has revealed would otherwise be an important mechanism by which Amazon gathers injuries to report."

'High risk of serious musculoskeletal disorders': Aurora's Amazon warehouse cited by OSHA

OSHA's investigation included a review of recordkeeping forms, interviews with employees and management, and an analysis of how the employees perform their work.

"Amazon's operating methods are creating hazardous work conditions and processes, leading to serious worker injuries," says Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker in a news release. "They need to take these injuries seriously and implement a company-wide strategy to protect their employees from these well-known and preventable hazards."

OSHA issued guidance on how Amazon's Aurora location could fix the problems, including training and education for employees, and hazard prevention and control.

The agency proposed more than $15,000 in penalties. Amazon has 15 days from the issuance of the citation to respond.

Amazon plans to appeal, and the company released a statement:

“We take the safety and health of our employees very seriously, and we don’t believe the government’s allegations reflect the reality of safety at our sites,” said Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson. “We’ve cooperated with the government through its investigation and have demonstrated how we work to mitigate risks and keep our people safe, and our publicly available data show we reduced injury rates in the U.S. nearly 15% between 2019 and 2021. We also know there will always be more to do, and we’ll continue working to get better every day.”

OSHA has cited several Amazon warehouse facilities for violations recently.

The agency proposed a combined nearly $47,000 for violations at the facilities in Aurora, Nampa, Idaho, and Castleton, New York.

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