The US Government is inspecting Amazon warehouses over 'potential worker safety hazards'

Workplace hazards like Amazon's required pace of work are being probed.

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An employee scans packages at Amazon's JFK8 distribution center in Staten Island, New York, U.S. November 25, 2020.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid.
Brendan McDermid / reuters

Amazon warehouses in New York City and elsewhere are being investigated by federal prosecutors and the US Department of Labor over unsafe workplace conditions, ABC News has reported. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted inspections "related, among other things, to Amazon's required pace of work for its warehouse employees," a spokesperson said in a statement. 

On top of probing potential safety hazards, the investigators were also looking into "possible fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from OSHA and others," the agency added. It said that it opened the inspections based on referrals from the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York regarding allegations of safety and health violations. It's also probing Amazon workplaces outside of Illinois and Florida. 

Over the last several years, Amazon has faced a number of complaints and probes over workplace safety, particularly around demanding tasks. Earlier this year, Washington state's Department of Labor cited and fined the company for "strenuous work at an unsafe pace" in Kent. Last year, the company issued a rare apology for tweets attacking criticism of working conditions, specifically that drivers and other workers were forced to pee in bottles to achieve objectives. 

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Following the collapse of a warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois during a hurricane, the company was criticized by members of congress and the senate for "wholly inadequate" warehouse safety. In April, workers at New York's Staten Island warehouse voted to form the company's first US union. 

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