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Investigations find safety violations in Amazon warehouses

Warehouses in Minnesota and throughout the country are supposed to observe certain safety standards and work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding any accidents or deaths that occur on the job. Reports from multiple media outfits say that for several years, Amazon did not have adequate safety regulations in place for its warehouse employees and did not keep adequate records of injuries.

In 12 or more cases, Amazon either would not give employees access to injury logs on request or only gave them partial information. According to one spokesperson at OSHA, Amazon was incorrect when the company told an employee that they only had access to records from the time the employee had worked there. When records were provided, employees were told they were confidential. However, according to OSHA, employers cannot restrict employee dissemination of injury records.

According to people who used to work as safety managers in the warehouses, the injury records were not correct anyway. Multiple former safety managers said they were pressured to create alternate reasons for injuries. One said the Indiana Labor Commissioner told him to stop pursing an investigation in which a warehouse employee died because it could jeopardize Amazon's decision to locate its headquarters in the state. The final report on the issue largely blamed the employee for dying on the job.

There are federal requirements for workplace safety that differ among industries, and people who are concerned about safety in their workplace or who have been injured in the workplace might want to consult an attorney. A person who is injured or exposed to substances that cause illness at work is usually eligible for workers' compensation. An attorney may be able to explain a person's rights and help with paperwork. The attorney also may be able to assist with appeals if the person is denied.

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