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OSHA investigates accidental death at Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania

updated 01:55 pm EDT, Fri June 13, 2014

Second fatal accident in Amazon warehouses in six-month period

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the death of an Amazon employee at one of the retailer's warehouses earlier this month. At the same time, OSHA has revealed its findings on another Amazon warehouse employee's death from December, citing violations with a number of companies, but not Amazon itself.

The June 1st incident saw Jody Rhoards involved in an industrial accident at a warehouse located in central Pennsylvania, reports the Associated Press. The 52-year-old employee died from multiple injuries, sustained after a motorized pallet jack crashed into store shelving and pinned her. An Amazon spokeswoman said "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jody's family and loved ones," advising it was actively working with OSHA to investigate the incident.

The earlier death of temporary worker Ronald Smith at an Amazon fulfillment center in Avenel, New Jersey, was also caused through machinery, with Smith reportedly caught in a conveyer system and crushed, according to an OSHA press release spotted by Recode. While the facility is owned by Amazon, and operated by third-party logistics company Genco, Amazon was not found at fault for the accident. Genco and four temporary staffing agencies each face fines of $6,000, with Genco cited for one serious violation for not certifying that a hazard assessment of the facility had been conducted before assigning employees to work.

"Temporary staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for the safety and health of temporary employees," said OSHA Avenel Area Office Director Patricia Jones. "It is essential that employers protect all workers from job hazards - both temporary and permanent workers."

by MacNN Staff



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