Justice Department opens civil probe into Amazon’s workplace safety practices: According to a representative for the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, a civil investigation into workplace safety at Amazon facilities and suspected “fraudulent” actions to conceal worker injuries from federal regulators have been launched.
According to the spokesman, investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) went to warehouses in New York City, Chicago, and Orlando on Monday morning to conduct worker safety inspections on behalf of the US attorney’s office.
“The civil division of the Southern District of New York is investigating potential worker safety hazards at Amazon (AMZN) warehouses across the country, as well as possible fraudulent conduct designed to conceal injuries from OSHA and others,” said Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for the US attorney’s office in that district. He stated that one topic of examination is Amazon’s necessary work speed for warehouse personnel.
Prosecutors requested members of the public, as well as current and former Amazon employees, to contact them if they noticed any safety violations, such as failures to report injuries or reports of people who were hurt but did not receive proper care from the on-site first aid stations.
“Of course, we will assist OSHA in their investigation, and we believe the results will prove that these worries are unjustified,” said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel.
Regulators have been scrutinizing Amazon in recent years. New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Amazon in 2021 for failing to protect workers during the pandemic. In May of this year, the case was dismissed.
Following the loss of six employees in December when the distribution center where they were working was struck by a tornado, a House committee stated in April that it is investigating how Amazon handles its employees. Amazon stated at the time that it will reply to the House probe as soon as possible and that it was committed to “helping our employees and partners, the families who lost loved ones, the surrounding community, and all those affected by the tornadoes.”
Complaints about worker safety at an Amazon facility in Staten Island, New York, were also a prominent factor in a successful union campaign earlier this year to win a landmark vote there.