OSHA has announced they will be conducting an investigation after a tornado passed through an Illinois Amazon warehouse that resulted in the death of 6 workers.
This comes after reports of workers being forced to remain in the warehouse as the storm approached. (SOURCE)
The company is now being questioned on whether adequate shelter was available, whether workers were advised to go there immediately, and whether the shifts should have gone ahead that evening at all, given the warnings of severe weather.
In a public statement, Amazon says it will be "supporting OSHA" and that OSHA investigates all workplace-related deaths.
This is not the first time the e-commerce giant has appeared under the microscope about claims about poor workplace conditions.
Earlier during the pandemic, the company was criticized for allegations concerning not notifying employees and health officials about COVID-19 cases. Where social distancing, protective equipment, and disinfecting were reported to be nearly non-existent.
Throughout 2021, numerous viral Tiktoks made by Amazon employees showed different aspects of poor working conditions at the company, from being refused to use the bathroom, to toxic productivity culture. (SOURCE)
Although these events happened earlier in 2021, there have not been many attempts to provide a better workplace environment for drivers or warehouse fulfillers.
The holidays exacerbate these conditions with a surplus of orders having to be fulfilled before the holidays. Many workers suffer from injuries due to the combined pressure of orders as well as unrealistic goals put out by the company. (SOURCE)
Now, many activists are pushing for workers to unionize across North America in an effort to reduce the number of workplace injuries and improve working conditions moving forward.
Amazon has been famously known for being anti-union, with many efforts in Canada resulting in little to no progression. (SOURCE)
Consider purchasing your holiday gifts locally this year, in an effort to show solidarity for Amazon workers who continue to work throughout these busier periods.