An Amazon employee picks items for shipping with the help of a robotic delivery device. (Amazon photo)

Amazon Workers Injured & Killed by Accidents

It happened at a warehouse in New Jersey just outside of Trenton in Robbinsville. The accident was caused by a robot who punctured a can of bear repellent, which affected 54 employees, sending 24 to a local hospital.

An Amazon spokesman offered this:

 “All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours. The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already under way.”

And while the trip to the hospital was “as a precaution,” it has once again brought up conditions in Amazon’s warehouses. Are profits being put ahead of worker safety?

A story in Wired magazine outlined three other incidents with bear repellent spray, and noted that a bad storm caused a wall to collapse in a Baltimore warehouse in November and killed two contractors. Another storm injured two workers, and in yet another accident, an employee was run over by a truck and killed. As one of the largest employers in the United States, accidents are part of doing business, but the dangers to employees are growing with the company. The addition of seasonal workers may increase the level of risk for inexperienced employees.

The risk for humans working together with robots is a real concern to Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, who expressed his views to The Guardian, a British newspaper.

“Amazon’s automated robots put humans in life-threatening danger,” Appelbaum said. “This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we cannot stand for this. The richest company in the world cannot continue to be let off the hook for putting hard working people’s lives at risk.”

Both in America and internationally, employees have reported problems with conditions and safety in warehouse facilities.

Amazon’s warehouses in the U.K had to have ambulances called 600 times between 2015 and 2017, according to a story in The Guardian.