OSHA, along with federal prosecutors in New York, have begun inspecting some Amazon warehouses as part of an investigation into working conditions at the company’s facilities.
Inspections were started July 18 in Amazon warehouses around New York City, Chicago and Orlando based on referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), according to CNBC.
‘Potential safety hazards, fraudulent conduct’
“The Civil Division of the SDNY is investigating potential worker safety hazards at Amazon warehouses across the country, as well as possible fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from OSHA and others,” SDNY chief spokesperson Nicholas Biase said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Labor confirmed that OSHA had opened investigations at Amazon warehouses in New York, Illinois and Florida.
Investigators are urging current and former Amazon warehouse employees to report their safety concerns through an online form. Specifically, OSHA and SDNY investigators are looking for information on safety issues from “the pace of work in warehouses, and injuries that may have been inadequately treated at Amazon’s onsite first-aid center.”
Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, told CNBC the company will cooperate with OSHA and that the investigation will “ultimately show that these concerns are unfounded.”
Company denies use of production quotas
Amazon has come under scrutiny by federal lawmakers, state governments and worker advocacy groups over the past few years due to the high injury rates at its warehouse facilities, which are blamed in part on unreasonable productivity quotas and the company’s “obsession with speed.”
The company has previously denied that it uses production quotas in its warehouse facilities. In April, CNBC reported that Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the injury rates are misunderstood while acknowledging the company could do more to improve safety.