Jason Del Rey
A few days after a third-party temp worker died at an Amazon-owned facility in New Jersey, a woman working as a packer at a new Amazon distribution center in California was hospitalized due to a workplace accident.
The accident was disclosed last month on the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but an accident date was not listed. Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Menton said the incident occurred on Dec. 7 at Amazon’s fulfillment center in San Bernardino, Calif., which has been in operation for a little more than a year.
Menton said the female worker was injured after getting her hand caught in a roller on a conveyor belt. She was taken to a hospital emergency room, and later admitted, Menton said. She did not lose her hand, but did “need skin treatment,” he added.
OSHA is still investigating the accident.
In an emailed statement, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said, “While we do not discuss individual incidents, any accident that occurs in a facility is one too many. The top priority of our fulfillment center network is safety — it’s safer to work in the Amazon fulfillment network than in a department store.”
Still, the accident occurred just three days after 57-year-old Ronald Smith was crushed by equipment and killed while working in an Amazon-owned facility in Avenel, New Jersey. That facility is operated on behalf of Amazon by a logistics company called Genco. Smith was employed by a third-party temp staffing agency called Abacus that Genco works with to staff the facility.
OSHA is still investigating that incident.
Amazon’s San Bernardino warehouse, like all of Amazon’s U.S. warehouses, is a non-union shop. Last month, for the first time in the U.S., a small group of Amazon warehouse workers held a vote on forming a union. In the end, the vast majority of the group of 27 employees, consisting of technicians and mechanics, voted against unionization. At the time, Amazon issued a statement saying, “our employees have made it clear that they want a direct connection with Amazon.”