If you walk through an apartment building, you will probably see Amazon delivery boxes outside many of the apartment units, or else piled up behind the reception desk, where a receptionist has signed for them. Amazon deliveries are a ubiquitous aspect of life in the United States, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the number of Amazon trucks on the street and Amazon boxes outside people’s doors. Amazon accounts for one out of every three warehouse jobs nationwide, but nearly one out of every two warehouse injuries, and between 2020 and 2021, the number of injuries at Amazon warehouses increased by 54%. Extreme temperatures are a major hazard not only for Amazon warehouse workers but also for delivery drivers. Given that temperatures are rising more quickly than ever and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) is making slow progress on issuing safety guidelines for working in excessive heat, more injuries are likely. If you need help reporting safety violations at your workplace to OSHA, contact a New Jersey employment lawyer.
Three Tragic Incidents at Three New Jersey Amazon Facilities
This summer, three Amazon workers died in workplace accidents in New Jersey:
- On July 13, employees at the Amazon warehouse in Carteret called 911 about a coworker who had fallen unconscious. First responders brought the warehouse worker to the hospital, where he died. The incident happened on Amazon Prime Day, one of the company’s busiest days, and the warehouse where the worker fell ill did not have air conditioning.
- On July 24, an ambulance transported an employee at the Robbinsville warehouse to a nearby hospital, where he died three days later. No other details are publicly available about the circumstances of his death.
- On August 4, an employee from the Monroe Township delivery station was hospitalized after an incident at work. He died four days later.
The only thing more disturbing than the fact that these workers died of injuries they sustained at work is the lack of transparency about the accidents. A spokesperson for Amazon said that the man who died on July 13 suffered from a pre-existing medical condition and that the work accident was not the sole factor contributing to his death. Meanwhile, Amazon workers, many of them refusing to allow the press to publish their names for fear of retaliation, have expressed concern about the lack of protection for workers. Warehouse workers are expected to keep to a tight schedule that does not allow for frequent breaks, even when the temperatures reach the triple digits. Neither Amazon delivery trucks nor the company’s warehouses have air conditioning, and the number of fans they have is insufficient. OSHA has launched an investigation to see how unsafe working conditions contributed to the fatalities at the New Jersey Amazon facilities.
Contact a New Jersey Employment Lawyer About Workplace Safety Violations
An employment lawyer can help you report safety violations to OSHA or other relevant parties. Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber in Red Bank, Marlton, and Newark, New Jersey to discuss your case.