A new investigation released by The Atlantic and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) accuses Amazon of underreporting injuries at its fulfillment centers across the country and evading safety officials up to the year 2015.
The study’s authors say the company went to great lengths to minimize the number of injuries reported at U.S. warehouses. In one case, state officials are accused of shifting the blame for a worker’s death so Amazon could escape liability.
An investigation uncovers violations over-reporting injuries
The report says Amazon’s injury rates are more than double the national average, likely due to their strict quotas and delivery schedules. Investigators outlined several instances where the company tried to limit employees’ efforts to share and request injury information, including:
- Ignoring requests or providing partial details from injury logs to employees seeking the data, a violation of federal law.
- Amazon told some employees they were only entitled to receive the records during the time they worked there, which is not correct, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- When providing records, some Amazon managers said they were confidential and requested that they were kept secret. OSHA says employers cannot restrict workers from sharing files.
- Some workers feared they would be sued if they shared records with news organizations, saying they felt intimidated by managers’ requests.
Investigator says one worker was blamed for his own death
An OSHA investigator says he was pressured to manipulate his report into the death of an Amazon worker who was crushed by a forklift at an Indiana warehouse. The investigator believed the man died due to the company’s failure to provide adequate training. However, he says he was told to back off by the state’s labor commissioner or risk Indiana not being chosen as the location for Amazon’s second headquarters. Ultimately, the record blamed the worker for his own death, and the state was not selected by Amazon.
Seek knowledgeable legal advice if you are injured on the job
In Georgia, state and federal laws protect workers from on-the-job injuries. Every employee is entitled to workers’ compensation if they work for a company with three or more employees. If you are hurt or become ill due to your job, an experienced and aggressive attorney will protect your rights and work diligently to get the compensation you deserve.