A U.S. agency has cited Amazon for failing to properly record work-related injuries and illnesses as part of an ongoing investigation, according to a news release Friday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, issued the e-commerce giant citations for 14 recordkeeping violations. These citations include "failing to record injuries and illnesses, misclassifying injuries and illnesses, not recording injuries and illnesses within the required time, and not providing OSHA with timely injury and illness records," per the release. Amazon faces $29,008 in proposed penalties as a result.
“Solving health and safety problems in the workplace requires injury and illness records to be accurate and transparent,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker, in a statement. “Our concern is that nothing will be done to keep an injury from recurring if it isn’t even recorded in the logbook which – in a company the size of Amazon – could have significant consequences for a large number of workers.”
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement that the company acknowledges “a small number of administrative errors” may have been made through the years but it’s confident in numbers it’s reported to the government.
“We are reviewing OSHA’s allegations and are pleased that OSHA acknowledged that all of the alleged violations are ‘other than serious’ and involve minor infractions,” Nantel said, adding that employee safety is Amazon’s top priority.
OSHA continues to investigate six Amazon warehouse facilities in five states. The agency opened inspections on July 18 at warehouses in Florida, Illinois and New York. On Aug. 1, it opened inspections at locations in Colorado, Idaho and New York.
OSHA issued the recordkeeping citations to comply with a six-month time limit under federal law. According to the release, Amazon has 15 business days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalty to take action, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent federal agency.
Amazon has faced various complaints over the years regarding its warehouse safety record and worker productivity quotas inside its sprawling fulfillment network. CEO Andy Jassy noted in his 2021 Letter to Shareholders that the company's recordable incident rates were higher than average versus warehouse peers.
"When I first started in my new role, I spent significant time in our fulfillment centers and with our safety team, and hoped there might be a silver bullet that could change the numbers quickly. I didn’t find that," Jassy said. "At our scale (we hired over 300,000 people in 2021 alone, many of whom were new to this sort of work and needed training), it takes rigorous analysis, thoughtful problem-solving, and a willingness to invent to get to where you want."