In an investigation that has recently surfaced, Amazon is said to have consistently avoided workplace safety regulators for four years starting in 2015. This eye opening investigation which propelled a joint report as published in The Atlantic and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting is without doubt a demanding and worthy read. The investigation compiles multiple safety failings spanning over a number of Amazon’s US warehouses, including the company’s attempt in reducing the number of reported injuries. In one scenario, it was alleged that investigators had tried to reduce the company’s liability as per the death that occurred in one of its warehouses.
Below is the an excerpt of how the report explains Amazon attempts to restrict injury log sharing between warehouses by employees:
In at least a dozen cases, Amazon either ignored these employee requests or provided only partial records, in apparent violation of federal regulations. Amazon told some workers that they were entitled only to the records for the time period they worked there; an OSHA spokesperson, Kimberly Darby, said that’s incorrect. And when Amazon did provide records, warehouse managers used identical language to call them confidential and request they be kept secret. Yet OSHA guidance says, and Darby confirmed, that employers are not allowed to restrict workers from sharing the records. Some workers said they felt intimidated by the notice, fearing they might get sued by Amazon for sharing the records with a news organization.
Moreover, the records may lack accuracy in the past few years. As reported by The Atlantic, past safety managers have claimed that Amazon’s policy had attempted reduce the amount of injuries reported before the year 2015.
A more condemning part of the report is one that alludes to OSHA investigator, John Stallone, who had been told by his superiors that his probe into a death case at an Amazon store might be manipulated to an extent that an employee would be blamed for the death.
As believed by the investigator, Amazon had failed as a company in offering sufficient training to its employees. John Stallone claims that afterwards, he was invited for a meeting with Indiana’s Labor Commissioner. He was told to shelve the case in order to prevent a change of plan of Amazon building its second headquarters in Indiana.
On reading the official record, it is seen that an employee is eventually blamed for the death. Amazon as well did not make the choice of locating an headquarters in Indiana.