NEW WINDSOR – An investigation by the US Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has a resulted in the agency citing the giant warehouse delivery retailer Amazon for failing to keep workers safe, and has issued a hazard warning letter after the inspections at the New Windsor facility.
Among the findings in the study, which began last July, were ergonomic issues, specifically that workers face immense pressure to meet pace of work and production quotas at the risk of sustaining musculoskeletal injuries, which are often acute; and that injuries may not have been reported, because Amazon’s on-site first-aid clinic is not staffed appropriately.
Inspectors said employees were required to pull full ‘go-carts’ and pallets loaded with packages with manual pallet jacks out of semitruck trailers.
“Employees were exposed to high pull forces when initiating pallets and go-carts, and when go-cart wheels were locked exposing them to an increased risk of low back and shoulder MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders),” according to a letter from Rita Young, OSHA area director.
The company was also cited for requiring employees to continuously grip scanners weighing 1.6 to 2.0 pounds while scanning packages at a high rate of frequency.
Workers were also required to lift, pull, twist, and bend during a process exposing them to an increases risk of lower back and shoulder MSDs.
OSHA said the company should work to minimize those types of injuries by conducting a worksite analysis, conduct training and education for exposed employees, implement hazard prevent and control, have medical management protocols, program analysis, and assign trained personnel responsible for OSHA recordkeeping.
“Working together, we can move closer to achieving the goal of workplaces free of preventable hazards,” said Young in her January 17, 2023 letter to management at the New Windsor Amazon facility.