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OSHA to probe Amazon after worker deaths

Online retailer Amazon has enjoyed quite a bit of media hype stemming from the impending release of its phone, which will enable consumers to, among many things, identify a product and compare it to what Amazon has in stock. It has also flirted with the possibility of using drones to deliver packages to a consumer’s front door.

However, workplace safety issues in Amazon’s distribution centers have not come to the forefront. Nevertheless, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is set to launch two investigations into worker deaths that have occurred over the last year. 

According to a recent insurancejournal.com report, one worker was killed at a distribution center when he reportedly was caught between a conveyor system in December 2013, while another worker was recently killed on June 1, 2014.

To fulfill its plan of having quick delivery of products, Amazon has redoubled its efforts to build distribution centers. In fact, it has spent nearly $14 billion on facilities in the last four years. The centers have been created around the world, from Indiana to Germany and China. Nevertheless, the rapid growth apparently is generating concerns, especially considering the workers who have been fatally injured.

OSHA’s Amazon probe should be a stark reminder to employers of the need and importance for safety procedures and continuous training on workplace policies. While OSHA has not cited Amazon for the deaths as of yet, it is a reminder that employers who fail to implement and monitor safety could leave themselves liable for potential legal action from injured employees. 

Source: Insurancejournal.com “Amazon workplace faces scrutiny after two deaths,” Adam Satariano, June 16, 2014

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