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More OSHA Fines for Amazon Over Warehouse Safety

Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Amazon exposed warehouse workers to a high risk of injury. The company disagrees.

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James Martin/CNET

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued new citations to Amazon for failing to keep workers safe at more Amazon warehouses, the US Department of Labor announced on Wednesday

The OHSA complaints allege that requiring employees to lift heavy items at a high frequency during long shifts has created unsafe working conditions, among other claims. In a review of federally required on-site injury logs, OSHA found that Amazon warehouse workers experienced high rates of musculoskeletal disorders.

OSHA has already been investigating Amazon after multiple workers died last summer at warehouses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The new OSHA claims against Amazon cite hazardous working conditions in more warehouses in Colorado, Idaho and New York, saying that Amazon exposes its workers to ergonomic hazards such as a "high risk of low back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders." 

The latest OSHA citations against Amazon could cost the company around $47,000. OSHA also cited Amazon in January for similar violations at three different warehouses, this time in Illinois, Florida and another location in New York, proposing a fine of over $60,000.

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

Amazon has said it intends to appeal the citations. 

"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," Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told CNET. "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 US nearly 15% between 2019 and 2021."

In December, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act, which requires logistics companies with warehouse operations to disclose quotas to employees, as well as protects workers who fail to meet quotas that haven't been disclosed or that don't allow for legally mandated breaks.