Federal work-safety investigators are investigating the death of an Amazon worker and an injury that potentially led to the death of another employee, already following the third death during the company’s annual Prime Day shopping event in mid-July. Investigation is going on.
All three Amazon employees died within the past month and were employed at the company’s facilities in New Jersey.
The new Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigation is taking a fresh look at Amazon’s injury rates and workplace-safety procedures, which have long been criticized by labor and safety advocates as inadequate.
Labor Department spokeswoman Denisa Braxton confirmed Thursday that the most recent fatality occurred last week at an Amazon facility in Monroe Township, about 20 miles (35 kilometers) northeast of Trenton. The second investigation is investigating the July 24 crash at an Amazon facility in Robbinsville. According to Braxton, the employee involved in that accident died three days later.
Robbinsville Police Chief Michael Polaski said in a statement that police responded to a warehouse called PNE5 on July 24 after receiving a report that an employee had fallen off a three-foot (one meter) ladder and suffered a head injury.
Polsky said the worker was conscious and alert when police arrived. But the police were told that CPR was done on the man by other workers before his arrival, he said. He said the person was taken to the hospital and OSHA was informed about the incident on the same day.
Police in Monroe Township did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident there.
The two recent deaths were first reported by the USA Today Network.
OSHA officials declined to provide additional information about any deaths, citing an open investigation. The agency has up to six months to complete each investigation.
Seattle-based Amazon spokesman Sam Stephenson said in a statement that the company is “deeply saddened by the passing of our associates and extends our condolences to their family and friends.”
“Our investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating with OSHA, which is conducting its own review of incidents, as is often the case in these situations,” Stephenson said.
Last month, OSHA launched another investigation into the death of an employee at an Amazon warehouse in the New Jersey town of Carteret, the largest in the company’s history, during the company’s Prime Day shopping event. Federal officials have not released additional details about the death, but news reports have identified the worker as 42-year-old Rafael Reinaldo Mota Fres.
An Amazon spokesperson said the company’s internal investigation into Carteret’s death suggests it was “not a work-related incident, but related to a personal medical condition.”
“OSHA is currently investigating the incident, and based on the evidence currently available to us, we fully expect it to lead to the same conclusions,” the spokesperson said.
The news of the deaths comes amid extensive investigations into the company’s operations. In late July, OSHA officials inspected Amazon facilities in New York, Illinois and Florida after receiving referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York alleging health and safety violations. The Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is also investigating security threats at Amazon’s warehouses and “fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from OSHA and others,” according to a spokesman for the office.