MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Amazon continues to run afoul of state regulators over safety conditions in warehouses

Jan 19, 2022, 12:35 PM | Updated: 12:40 pm

Amazon warehouses...

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Newly-released public records reveal that the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) issued a citation to Amazon in December regarding conditions in one of the company’s warehouses.

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The records were first revealed by Business Insider, detailing how “the pace of work” at an Amazon warehouse in Sumner, Washington, “does not leave enough time for workers to use equipment intended to make the work safer.”

“The pace of work also makes it impractical for workers to follow Amazon’s safety training, including safe lifting methods and setting the brakes on carts while loading and unloading them,” the citation reads.

L&I went on to warn that the resulting hazards “are causing or [are] likely to cause serious injury,” pointing out that the Sumner facility has a musculoskeletal injury rate “about 2 to 2.5 times higher than the warehousing industry average.”

As a result, the state is fining Amazon $7,000, and giving it until Feb. 2 to submit a “detailed written initial plan” on how it intends implement changes to conditions inside the Sumner warehouse.

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Amazon is contesting the citation, making this the latest chapter in a long saga of conflict with Washington safety regulators. Similar allegations were levied against the company last May, related to a separate warehouse facility in DuPont.

Court filings from the Washington Attorney General’s Office last December also claimed that the company had repeatedly attempted to bar inspectors from its Washington warehouses, while frequently interfering with L&I investigations and showing “considerable resistance” when pressed for safety information.

That led to a King County Superior Court judge ordering the company to cooperate with the state’s safety investigators.

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