Amazon worker deaths investigated by U.S. Department of Labor

By Daily Digest News
June 14, 2014

Amazon worker deaths investigated by U.S. Department of Labor

OHSA has cited five companies for serious violations in the December death of an Amazon worker.

Two Amazon workers have died at fulfillment centers since December, Businessweek reports.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, temporary worker Ronald Smith was caught in between a conveyor system and crushed while conducting sorting operations at an Amazon fulfillment center on Dec. 4, 2013. Smith later died from his injuries.

The Department of Labor says that after a thorough investigation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) has cited five companies for serious violations. Businessweek notes that Amazon wasn’t cited by the Department of Labor for the death.

“Temporary staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for the safety and health of temporary employees. These employers must assess the work site to ensure that workers are adequately protected from potential hazards,” said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA’s Avenel Area Office, in a statement. “It is essential that employers protect all workers from job hazards — both temporary and permanent workers.”

According to a report from The Associated Press, the Department of Labor is also investigating the death of Amazon worker Jody Rhoads earlier this month. Rhoads was using a motorized pallet jack at an Amazon warehouse in central Pennsylvania when it crashed into shelving and pinned her. Amazon told The AP that it is working with OSHA to figure out what took place.

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