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Warehouse Workers Voice Concerns About Workplace Safety

When you order something from Amazon you probably don't think about all the people involved in getting the merchandise to your front door. Over 15,000 Amazon employees work in warehouses called "fulfillment centers." In several of these fulfillment centers employees have raised safety concerns about the working conditions, and questioned the company's treatment of injured workers.

In a lawsuit settled last summer, an Allentown, Pennsylvania warehouse worker said he was told to tell emergency responders that an injury to his hip was not work-related, although he claimed it really was a work injury.

His injury was reported in an investigation of the company's Pennsylvania warehouse operations by the Allentown Morning Call. The investigation also revealed that temperatures inside the Pennsylvania workplace got so high that the company parked ambulances outside the building to take workers to the hospital.

Amazon warehouse workers in Kentucky have also recently voiced concerns. Employees reported that they were encouraged to attribute injuries to pre-existing health conditions, or treat them in a manner that did not require reporting to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

There are also allegations by a former warehouse safety official that Amazon's in-house medical providers were discouraged from referring workers to outside doctors. For instance, providers would be told to use a bandage instead of referring a worker to a physician for stitches. When workers were seen by outside doctors, some report that mangers from Amazon would pressure doctors to treat injuries in a manner that would not result in "recordable incidents."

Source: The Seattle Times, "Amazon warehouse jobs push workers to physical limit," Hal Bernton and Susan Kelleher, April 3, 2012.

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