An Amazon distribution center in Washington was cited for a willful ergonomics violation, resulting in a $60,000 fine.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) performed an inspection at the distribution center and found 10 of the 12 processes evaluated created serious hazards for work-related back, shoulder, wrist and knee injuries.
L&I ergonomists found these job tasks involved repetitive motions, lifting, carrying, twisting and other physical work along with a fast pace which increased the risk of injury.
Amazon denies problems with pace
The state has cited Amazon for similar violations in the past at three other Washington distribution centers, which means the company is aware of the problem but has failed to make changes for improvement.
Amazon “has consistently denied the association between pace of work and injury rates.”
That led L&I to classify this violation as willful with a significantly higher penalty.
Written abatement plan required
In addition to the fine, Amazon must submit a written plan to L&I within 60 days detailing what methods the company will use to abate the hazard.
Options L&I provided for Amazon to consider include:
- installing height adjustable platforms to reduce awkward lifting
- using powered equipment to move heavy pallets, and
- setting a safe pace of work for each process.