Amazon Warehouses Under Investigation from Federal Prosecutors, DOL

Amazon Warehouses Under Investigation from Federal Prosecutors, DOL

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is investigating issues of workplace safety. The probe will investigate injuries resulting from “workplace hazards, worker rate requirements and the pace of work, and whether Amazon appropriately reported on-the-job injuries”.

While employing a large percentage of warehouse workers in the United States, Amazon has a disproportionate amount of workplace injuries. The company employs approximately 33% of all warehouse workers in the country, yet it was responsible for 49% of the workplace injuries in the industry during 2021. 

Over the last five years injury rates at Amazon warehouses have been consistent. In 2021, the injury rate per 100 full-time employees was 7.9. In 2021 there were 38,334 total recordable injuries for Amazon warehouse workers which either required medical treatment or that the affected worker took time off work due to the workplace injury.

Fines for infractions of alleged violations have been extremely insignificant. For example, Amazon was fined only $60,000 after the Washington Department of Labor & Industries found that the company was knowingly putting the safety of its workers at risk.

The failure of Amazon to provide adequate protection to the workforce and the inadequacy of the government in protecting workers is unsurprising. Amazon seeks to maximize its profits and extract the maximum value from workers over and above their wages regardless of whether this poses a health risk to workers. The government and its associated agencies seek to preserve and maintain the existing class dictatorship of the capitalists and their ability to exploit the workers. As long as capitalism continues to exist, the workers will continue to be exploited and the slap on the wrist from federal prosecutors or state agencies are just a cost of doing business for Amazon. 

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