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Amazon faces scrutiny due to employee deaths

An incident that killed an employee in an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania, along with another incident that took place in December of 2013, have resulted in investigations of the company's conditions by OSHA. The Department of Labor reports that there have been two deaths among employees at Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment centers.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the first death involved a man who got caught in the conveyor belt while sorting packages. This accident caused OSHA to cite five companies for the workplace injuries at its Avenel, New Jersey facility. Among these companies, one was a contractor responsible for the sorting system, and the other four were staffing agencies that hired temporary employees. Amazon itself was not cited in this matter. The second death, which occurred on June 1, is being investigated by OSHA at Amazon's Carlisle, Pennsylvania, facility.

As the demand for items increases, the Chief Executive Officer of Amazon continues to spend large amounts of money to open new facilities world-wide. Unions have made an attempt to get in and organize employees at fulfillment centers.

When someone has been injured in a workplace accident, they may wish to work with a lawyer experienced in workers' compensation. A lawyer could determine whether the case would be a worker's compensation claim or a personal injury claim. In a workers' compensation case, the employer is not directly at fault, but the employee could be eligible for workers' compensation benefits such as weekly compensation and permanent impairment benefits.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Amazon Worker Deaths Examined by U.S. Labor Department", Adam Satariano, June 13, 2014

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