NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon failed to properly record work-related injuries at warehouses in five states, a federal agency said Friday while announcing it issued more than a dozen citations during its investigation into business course.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it issued 14 citations during inspections over the summer at six Amazon warehouses in New York, Florida, Illinois, Colorado and Idaho.
The citations related to failing to record or misclassifying injuries and illnesses, failing to record them in a timely manner and failing to provide the agency with ‘timely’ records of such matters , OSHA said. The e-commerce giant, which earned more than $33 billion last year, faces around $29,000 in penalties.
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a prepared statement that the company is investing millions in a “robust safety program” to protect workers.
“Accurate record keeping is a critical part of this program and while we recognize that there may have been a small number of administrative errors over the years, we are confident in the numbers we have reported to the government,” Nantel said, adding that the company was pleased OSHA acknowledged that “all alleged violations are ‘other than serious’ and involve minor infractions.”
Seattle-based Amazon has long been the subject of criticism over its worker injury rates, which the company itself has admitted to be above the industry average in some cases. Earlier this year, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said that while the company’s data shows injury rates for its delivery people and couriers were below average, injury rates his warehouse workers’ injuries were higher than those of his peers.
Labor and safety experts have criticized how the company tracks the productivity levels of workers who pack and put away packages and say the fast-paced warehouse environment could contribute to higher injury rates. Amazon said it has no productivity quotas and only evaluates its employees against their peers.
The quotes are from referrals that were made to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Nicholas Biase, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, said the office’s Civil Division and OHSA are investigating the potential safety of workers at Amazon warehouses and “possible fraudulent conduct designed to conceal injuries from OSHA and others”. The prosecutor’s office encouraged former and current Amazon employees to report security issues directly to them.