Amazon’s “Inadequate” Safety Rules Put Thousands at Risk, AOC and Warren Say

Investigations into Amazon’s safety procedures surrounding the tornado that caused the deaths of six workers in a warehouse in Illinois last year have demonstrated that the company’s safety rules are “wholly inadequate,” Democratic lawmakers say.

Wednesday saw Senator Elizabeth Warren (D–Massachusetts), as well as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez and Cori Bush, both Democrats from New York. sent a letter to Amazon’s chairman Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy criticizing the company for doing the “bare minimum” to protect its workers from danger.

The letter comes after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found in an investigation, released late last month, that the company’s safety protocols met minimum legal requirementsBut they still lacked in key areas that could help employees be more prepared in case of a disaster.

“Although Amazon told us in its January 3, 2022 response that ‘safety is our top priority,’ the OSHA findings revealed glaring gaps in Amazon’s safety procedures, including flawed safety training, inadequate emergency procedures, and the inability of Amazon managers to follow the procedures that were in place,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

Further, the lawmakers stated that the company must update its safety protocols in order to better protect its assets. nearly 1 millionWarehouse workers across the country were affected. “These findings reveal a wholly inadequate safety culture at Amazon, which potentially contributed to the death of six workers and, if not addressed, will continue to put thousands more workers across the country at risk.”

Wednesday’s letter follows up on a note that Amazon sent in January in response to the lawmakers’ first letter to the companySoon after, Six workers were killedA tornado caused an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois to collapse. Workers that the company’s policy disallowing workers from having their phones at work and the company’s Inadequacy of comprehensive disaster protectionTraining may have contributed to the deaths.

In the company’s response to the lawmakersBrian Huseman, Amazon Vice President of Policy, provided details about the warehouse. He also boasted that the company had spent $300,000,000 on safety issues in 2021. Huseman stated that the company was also conducting an internal investigation into this incident.

But while Amazon has promised to become “Earth’s Safest Place to Work,” Reports have shownIt turns out that warehouses in Amazon are extremely dangerous to work in. Last month, a report by the Strategic Organizing Center found that the company’s injury rate increased between 2020 and 2021 and that nearly half of the workplace injuries in the entire U.S. warehouse sector last year happened at Amazon facilities. Amazon employs just a third of the warehouse workers in the country.

According to the lawmakers’ latest letter, Amazon’s response appeared to have stretched the truth on how managers responded to the tornado. While Amazon claimed that managers “immediately implemented the facility’s emergency action plan for a tornado” when the warning was received, the lawmakers note that OSHA’s findings contradict that account of events.

OSHA found that managers couldn’t implement the plan because the megaphone meant to be used for an emergency was “locked in a cage and not accessible.” Managers instead had to communicate verbally with employees, leading to a “chaotic emergency situation.”

“The OSHA inspection and your response to our letter indicate that Amazon will do only the bare minimum – and sometimes less than that – to keep its workers safe,” Warren, Ocasio-Cortez and Bush wrote. They urge the company to comply with a House Committee on Oversight and Reform request for documents in its investigation into the company’s safety practices.